Saturday, February 23, 2013

Medically Assisted Bulima? Aspire Assist

I heard this term this afternoon while listening to the TV show The Doctors.

Medically Assisted Bulimia

What it is: Aspire Assist

Who makes it:  Aspire Bariatrics

Who is it for:  Severely obese individuals


Aspire Assist is touted as longterm solution for obesity that promotes a healthy normal lifestyle.

The AspireAssist gives patients control over their weight loss by a method known as Aspiration Therapy. With Aspiration Therapy, patients “aspirate” (drain) a portion of their stomach contents into the toilet after each meal through an endoscopically-implanted tube, reducing the number of calories absorbed by the body. The tube is implanted in the stomach, and leads to a small, low-profile port at the surface of the skin. Aspiration performed about twenty minutes after a meal will remove about a third of the calories consumed. The AspireAssist is used in conjunction with a lifestyle modification program, and requires careful and comprehensive medical monitoring.  (source:  Aspire Assist website)

Let's take a deeper look and think about it.

The "Doctors" state that this might be a "temporary" solution for the seriously obese individual, as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery.  But, this new solution, also requires a surgery to implant the portal, and will require surgery to remove the portal.  As with any surgery - even minimally invasive surgery - there are risks including the risk of infection, internal bleeding, and/or death.  Surgery of any kind should not be entered into lightly and should only be a last resort option. 

I was happy to see that the Aspire Assist includes a lifestyle behavior modification component.   This is critical if the individual is to be successful with weight loss including keeping the weight off after the device is removed.  However, I can also see the pitfalls of this device, which include (in my opinion):
  • Not following through with lifestyle modifications, including exercise (as weight loss allows).  Exercise and activity in general are a vital component of a healthy body, both during and after weight loss.
  • Not following through with lifestyle modifications, including a change in diet, both portion control and quality of food intake.  Continuing with poor eating habits will simply negate the effects of the device.
  • An increase in binge eating, since food can all be expired.
  • That a temporary solution becomes a long term solution.
  • The availability of this device to individuals who are not clinically obese, but simply overweight, leading to abuse.
  • Nutritional deficiencies because nutrients are also aspired from the body.  While Aspire Assist does include a medical component to make sure this does not happen, it is nonetheless, a risk.
  • That the risk of infection is high since the portal is used for an exchange of foods several times a day.
I totally understand medical intervention in the case of severely obese individuals, however, I simply do not see this device working.  How many people that have undergone gastric bypass surgery have gained their weight back?  A reported 59% of patients regained up to 20% of their weight loss back after initial weight loss.  Why?  Mostly because they failed at the most important part of the plan:  changing their lifestyle.  Without proper change to diet and activity, most individuals will see weight gain and/or will revert back to their former weight (or more).

I would totally support an intensive psychological behavior modification program to support weight loss with or without the stomach pump.  I just don't see the success of the pump.  It's extremely hard to lose weight, especially if morbidly obese, leaving many in a Catch-22 position.  If you're morbidly obese, you can't move easily.  If you can't move, you can't burn excess calories and/or change your metabolism.  So - hunker down and get the therapy you need first.  Try hard.  Don't take or make excuses for why you can't lose weight.  Then, try harder.  It won't be easy.  Get support.

365fitt has several options for you to try:
Good luck, may you be 365fitt!
Coach Kathy

365fitt is about training for the event called LIFE, focusing on physical, nutritional and emotional wellness through lifestyle adaptations.  Kathy is available for personal training and wellness consultations and corporate wellness.  365fitt invites you to participate in a Healthy Active Living trip to incredible destinations.  Please visit 365fitt for more information.  Live 365fitt!

1 comment:

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