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Obesity When Diet and Exercise Wont Work

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 18:59 / By Andrew Rynne

Obesity When Diet and Exercise Wont Work

I don't know about you but the idea of carrying around a few tennis ball sized balloons in my stomach for 3 months is not very appealing. But then clinical obesity is a real and serious problem and if the Obalon can offer some new hope then that has to be a good thing.

Before it is put into the stomach the non inflated balloon is contained inside a capsule and has a fine tube attached to it. Under medical supervision and without sedation as a rule, the patient swallows this capsule with the balloon inside it and fine tube attached. When the capsule enters the stomach it quickly dissolves leaving the balloon ready for inflating.

Inflation of the tennis ball sized balloon is done via the fine tube mentioned above. Once inflated, light traction is placed on the tube separating it from the balloon in the stomach and withdrawing it from the body. The entire procedure tale only 15 minutes after which the patient is free to go home. Usually only one balloon is inserted at a time and the patient's weight loss monitored. If this is deemed to be sub-optimal then up to two additional balloons can be inserted. In any event all balloons are removed after a three month period.

Lead researcher Shelby Sullivan MD and director of bariatric endoscopy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, said the new balloon system could help patients lose almost twice as much weight compared with lifestyle changes alone, adding this is very important because weight loss is very difficult and a significant number of people are not successful in achieving their weight loss goals with diet changes and exercise alone.

According to public health experts, more than 640 million people globally have obesity (defined as a BMI of more than 30), and there are more people considered overweight than normal or underweight in the world.

Researchers found that within the Obalon balloon treatment group, the average loss of total body weight was 6.81 percent, while the control group's average weight loss was 3.59 percent. See study

Dr. Sullivan and her team also found that 64.3 percent of individuals who received the Obalon balloon achieved at least a five percent total body weight loss, compared to only 32 percent of the control group. Individuals in the Obalon balloon treatment group experienced improvements in their systolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Of course if after the three months of Obalon treatment the patient reverts to their old ways then I don't really see the point of all this. Also the removal of the balloons requires and endoscopic procedure under sedation. So this is not something to be undertaken without serious consideration. What do you think? Here is a piece I wrote on this subject a few months ago.

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