Can a bariatric surgery stop premature aging?

age

Most people the world over aim to hold on to their youthfulness for as long as they can. As we grow older, we are forced to expect and accept some of the minor forms of aging, as long as they are consistent with chronological aging. However, some individuals experience premature aging, which implies that the aging symptoms are either more pronounced or arrived earlier. As a matter of fact, premature aging can also be termed unnatural aging, and the good news is that it can be prevented or treated. The signs and symptoms of premature aging are quite visible and they could be very disturbing since they often spring up unexpectedly. Some of the common symptoms of premature aging include fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, sensitivity and inflammation, sagging skin as well as dehydration.

It is however imperative to first and foremost understand the causes of premature aging, so as to have an in-depth understanding of the treatment options, a bariatric surgery inclusive. That said, the most common causes of premature aging are environmental factors, lifestyle choices, as well as certain medical conditions that augment the signs of aging at an earlier age.

Moreover, there are shreds of evidences that premature aging is associated with weight gain. This assertion can be explained by the fact that scientific evidence has revealed that obesity is also one of the major causes of premature aging. As a matter of fact, it is apparent that obesity is a known cause of premature aging, even though scientists are still trying to figure out or understand the mechanism behind the process. Many past studies have revealed that obesity increases the level of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in fat cells, thereby leading to a shortage of telomeres, which is a known marker of aging. It is worthy to note that telomere are structures which are located at the ends of each chromosome, and their function is to provide DNA protection. Whenever a cell divides, a portion of the telomeres is lost and once the telomeres reaches a critical limit, the cells stop dividing (aging). Well, lifestyle choices, including poor diet, lack of exercise or inactivity as well as obesity can further increase the speed at which telomeres decompose.

It is therefore apparent that people who are obese have telomeres, coupled with other signs and symptoms of premature aging. For instance, obese people also have high levels of inflammation and an increase in the volume of inflammatory cytokines. A study was therefore conducted in a bid to examine whether or not bariatric surgery could reverse the cellular signs of aging.

A bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure that is aimed at reducing the size of the stomach. It should be noted that after a bariatric surgery, the body mass usually decreases by 30 to 40 percent over a span of one year. This procedure can actually cause weight loss by restricting the amount of food that the stomach can hold, thereby causing the malabsorption of nutrients, or a combination of both gastric restriction and malabsorption. There are indeed many kinds of bariatric surgeries including, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, etc, but that could actually be a topic of its own.

Researchers at the University of Vienna, Austria decided to embark on a study to find out whether or not a bariatric surgery could actually stop cellular aging processes. During the study that was conducted under the leadership of Philipp Hohensinner, the researchers studied 76 patients who were each 40 years old. It should be noted that the participants in this study had an average body mass index (BMI) of 44.4. Of course, the participants were forced to resort to a bariatric surgery, after they had explored many other methods of weight loss. The blood samples of the participants were also taken before the operation as well as after 12 and 24 months. The findings of this study nevertheless indicated that the average body mass index decreased from 44.4 to 27.5, whereas weight reduction was 38 percent. These findings therefore insinuated that a bariatric surgery could treat obesity/overweight and subsequently reduce the symptoms of aging that are associated with weight.

Further findings from this study with regards to cellular changes also indicated that the level of cytokines, which contributes to inflammation also decreased significantly. It is also worthy to note that up to two years after the study, the patients’ telomeres were impressive, as they were 80 percent more in sales and blood samples. Besides measuring telomeres, the authors of this study equally evaluated the oxidation of the telomeres and concluded that it was one of the reasons for shortening. Even though more research is needed on this subject, the entire project has buttressed the claim that a bariatric surgery could be an effective treatment option of premature aging.

The findings from another study that was published in 2018 also insinuated that a bariatric surgery could prevent premature aging. It should be noted that the aim of this study was to determine whether or not a bariatric surgery as well as the resulting weight loss could reverse the symptoms of premature aging. This study was conducted on 56 morbidly obese patients who were undergoing bariatric surgeries. The findings from this study however, revealed that the patients showed a significant drop in body mass index (BMI) from an average of 43.98 to an average of 28.02. Moreover, the authors of this study also observed a significant reduction in SASP including a reduction of 55% of plasma, 83% of CRP levels and 15% of plasma PAI-1 levels.

The data of this 2018 study clearly indicated a significant reduction of the pro-inflammatory SASP after the bariatric surgeries. More so, an increase in telomere length as well as reduced oxidative stress at telomeres was also observed by the researchers. The authors of the study, therefore, gave an overall conclusion that the bariatric surgeries which the patients underwent ameliorated their premature aging phenotypes.

Nevertheless, it is apparent there is a need for more in depth scientific research to examine the exact extent to which a bariatric surgery can ameliorate premature aging and whether or not such a surgery will result in adverse consequences in the long run.

Slimming slows the development of arthrosis of the knee

Arthrosis also known as osteoarthritis (OA), is the most common type of arthritis that is caused by the normal wear and tear of the cartilage. It should be noted that cartilage is that slippery tissue which covers the ends of the bones and helps the joints move. As the years go by, the cartilage may depreciate and in some people, it could even disappear completely. The result is therefore bone to bone contact which results in pain, stiffness and sometimes swellings in the joint. Of course, arthrosis can affect any joint of the body, even though it’s more common in the joints in the hands, neck, hip as well as knee joints. Although joint pain and joint stiffness are the most common symptoms of arthrosis, other symptoms include tenderness around the affected joint, reduced flexibility in the affected joint, bone to bone grating or rubbing as well as bone spurs (small bits of extra bone growth that may develop around affected joints).

There are however, shreds of evidences that slimming could help slow down the development of arthrosis of the knee. Well to understand the relationship between slimming and arthrosis, it is imperative to first of all understand the some of its risk factors. Now, let’s look at some of the risk factors of arthrosis in the following paragraphs;

 

Weight

People who are overweight are at higher risk of arthrosis. This assertion can be backed by the fact that extra weight puts more pressure on the joint, thereby increasing the risk of damaging it. Besides, weight has also been fingered as one of the most common causes of other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis inclusive.

 

Age

The older one gets, the more he or she is likely to develop arthrosis. As a matter of fact, arthrosis and many other forms of arthritis are common in older people.

 

Accidents/injuries

Some accidents could also cause arthrosis in the long run. The reason is that accidents as well as infections can damage your joints, thereby increasing your risk for arthrosis and other types of arthritis.

 

Joint deformities

Certain deformities of the joints such as malformed cartilage or uneven joints could also increase the risk of arthrosis.

 

Occupation

Certain occupations require people to put a lot of pressure on certain joints of their body. For instance, people who put a lot of pressure on their knees while working are at higher risk of developing arthrosis of the knee.

 

Genes

Arthrosis runs in certain families and you are therefore more likely to develop it if you are from such a family. Of course, your genes also affect your chances of developing other forms of arthritis.

Having looked at the risk factors of arthrosis, we can now proceed to look at its relationship with slimming. A research that was conducted by scientists at the University of California in San Francisco revealed that slimming slows the development of arthrosis of the knee. The authors of this study observed that people suffering from overweight or obesity experienced a slow degeneration of the structures of the knee joint after losing 5 – 10% of body weight over 4 years. 

It is apparent that obesity is one of the risk factors of arthrosis or Osteoarthritis. The reason is that being overweight could put additional pressure on the joint and cartilage, thereby causing them to wear out. In addition, a high level of body fat could lead to an increase in the number of substances in the blood that cause inflammation, which may in turn increase the risk of developing the condition. This therefore explains why the authors of this study assumed that losing weight can slow the development of arthrosis of the knee, by reducing the degeneration of the cartilage of the knee joint.

The researchers at the University of California, therefore, focused on studying the degeneration of all structures of the knee joint, such as menisci, articular cartilage and bone marrow. It is however worth mentioning that the meniscus is an area of fibrous cartilage that softens and protects the surface of the joints, while the articular cartilage is a smooth connective tissue that covers the ends of the bones. During this study, data was analyzed from 640 people who were either overweight or obese. All the participants of this study were reported to have a risk factor of arthrosis, as determined by MRI. For over a span of 48 months, the scientists tracked changes in the weight of the subjects, as well as changes in the knee joints. The participants were later divided into three different groups based on the changes in weight in the four years (48 months) period. These groups included those who lost more than 10 percent of their body weight, those who lost 5 to 10 percent of their body weight and finally, those who didn’t record any changes in body weight.

Nevertheless, the researchers found out that those who had lost at least 5% of their body weight experienced a slow degeneration of the knee joint cartilage. Of course, the changes were even stronger in the group of people who had lost more than 10 percent of their body weight. According to the authors of this study, these results are a demonstration of how weight loss can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis in people who are overweight or obese. Thus, the findings of this study have gone a long way to support the claims that slimming or weight loss could slow the development of arthrosis of the knee.

In addition, this study also emphasizes the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle in a bid to prevent the structural degeneration of the knee joint in people suffering from both obesity and overweight. It is evident that preventing the structural degeneration of the joints could reduce the risk of osteoarthritis or arthrosis.