More than 35 percent of Alabamians are obese which can lead to life-threatening health conditions. News 5 looks into the risks weight loss surgery to combat the potentially life-threatening condition.
Alicia Khirid is a 31-year-old mother of two who lost her own father at just 2 years old.
“He was extremely obese. He ended up having a cardiac arrest and died. Because his heart was enlarged due to being overweight and everything”, said Khirid whose own obesity affected life with her children. “Taking them places..doing things with them. I was uncomfortable.I would get hot. I’d get out of breath. I couldn’t do the fun stuff that some moms could do with their kids and have a good time and enjoy it.”
She tried dieting and exercise, but nothing worked. Then Khirid heard of weight loss surgery and admits that it frightened her.
“It is a big operation and it is something that needs serious consideration,” said General & Bariatric Surgeon Doctor Forrest Ringold.
He compares the risk of dying from weight loss surgery to that of having your gallbladder removed, 1 in 500. “But by choosing to do nothing, that doesn’t mean that you’re not taking some risks and the risk that the individual is taking is that if they don’t already have co-morbid conditions, they will develop high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol that will then subject them to heart disease and stroke and they will have a shorter life expectancy,” said Dr. Ringold.
He performed a laparoscopic procedure on Khirid and shrank her stomach by 90 percent. In eleven months, she went from eight 301 pounds to 156 pounds. She is no longer pre-diabetic, and her blood pressure and heart rate are normal.
“I feel much better about myself. I feel healthier. I feel like I can go places and do things. I feel like I’m not embarrassing my children when I’m around them. Which they never said I did, but deep down you feel that sometimes,” said Khirid.
Doctor Ringold and Khirid say weight loss surgery is not an easy one time fix. It’s a lifelong commitment. After surgery, patients can only eat 4 to 6 ounces at a meal. Eventually, they work up to consuming about 12-hundred calories a day.
“I can’t just go eat something. I can’t say..’oh I’m hungry let’s go out and have dinner.’ Like I have to be consciously aware about what I put in my body,” said Khirid.
Despite restrictions, Dr. Ringold said patients have no regrets, “They are crying tears of joy.”
“I would do it again in a heartbeat…… My only regret is not doing it sooner and knowing about it sooner,” said Khirid.
Even though Alabama leads most of the nation in obesity, Dr. Ringold estimates that he talks to less than one percent of people who are eligible for weight loss surgery.
For more information on the different types of weight loss surgeries and the risks..go to http://sampadocs.com/weight-loss-surgery/