Obesity in Singapore: A Chronic Relapsing Disease

Obesity is something that many people in Singapore struggle with. In an article released by Channel News Asia, one of these people is a 47-year-old father of two, Mr.Vasoo Kesevan. Weighing 212 kg, at his heaviest, Mr.Vasoo often hears comments from people regarding his appearance. He told an account where he even received negative comments while waiting for a taxi with his two children.

Aside from the scrutiny from other people, his weight affected different aspects of his life. Mr.Vasoo realized that being overweight has become a hurdle for him to do the simplest of things such as getting up or picking up a coin on the floor. Eventually, it also affected his job as a driver when he started to struggle to pick up the wheel because of his big stomach.

Losing weight proved to be hard for Mr.Vasoo. He has chronic asthma which makes exercising difficult. Furthermore, he has an old knee injury which makes it harder for him to do active movements. Sadly, the longer he stays within his weight, the more prone he is to falling or other injuries. Also, it puts him at risk of cardiovascular or cardiorespiratory complications such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, and diabetes.

Credits: Dr.Tan Chun Hai

Weight Loss through Sleeve Gastrectomy

Mr.Vasoo has a serious case of obesity. For the Asian body, a body mass index (BMI) of more than 37.5 already classifies him as morbidly obese. Mr.Vasoo has a BMI of 70, which puts him at serious risk of health complications.

However, as mentioned, he struggles to shed off the weight. Aside from exercising, he tried diet pills, but it was very expensive and he found that he gained more weight once he stopped taking them. Mr.Vasoo is not alone in experiencing this problem. Many of those who experience obesity in Singapore still struggle to keep off the weight despite dietary and lifestyle changes. What’s the hope for people like Mr.Vasoo?

Upon consultation with a doctor, he was recommended the option of surgery, specifically sleeve gastrectomy. Sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure that removes about 60% to 70% of your stomach. The remaining parts are joined together in a banana-shaped sleeve, shrinking the stomach to 10% of its original size. As a result, it limits the amount of food you can consume, making you feel fuller longer. Also, the procedure reduces the levels of ghrelin produced, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Singapore

However, due to his BMI, Mr.Vasoo was asked to get his weight down to 180 kg, to reduce the risk of cardiorespiratory complications from the surgery. He was given an exercise regimen and a low-calorie diet to follow for three weeks. After doing so, he worked with specialists to set up a customised plan for his weight loss. Mr.Vasoo was able to go down to 188 kg, close enough to his target weight, permitting him to undergo sleeve gastrectomy.

With that said, Mr.Vasoo’s weight loss journey did not end after his surgery. Something that he mentioned that contributed to his excessive weight gain was his dormant unhealthy lifestyle. Because of the nature of his work, he tends to eat a lot- at irregular times- and rest or spend the day sitting on the driver’s seat. After surgery, Mr.Vasoo continues to be mindful about portioning his meals and incorporating exercise even in the form of housework.

At 162 kg as of date, Mr.Vasoo has a bit to go, but he’s in working progress of achieving his health goal.

Obesity Solution in Singapore

Alternative Weight Loss Solution

Sleeve gastrectomy is an invasive surgery and its results are non-reversible. That’s why it is considered as a last option for treating obesity in Singapore. Obesity is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a chronic relapsing disease, meaning that it may come back later on after losing weight. So, a more holistic approach is still recommended when it comes to weight loss.

The case of Mr.Vasoo Kesevan is a more severe case of obesity in Singapore. Again, a BMI of more than 37.5 is already considered obese for Asian bodies. If you find yourself within that rage, but not as serious as Mr.Vasoo’s, sleeve gastrectomy might not be the right approach for you.

If you find it hard to lose weight through traditional methods, there are other ways such as weight loss balloons. Weight loss balloons are placed in the stomach and filled with water, making you feel full and consume less food. One of the popular brands of weight loss balloons in Singapore is Elipse.

Elipse Balloon is the first and only swallowable weight loss balloon in Singapore. Unlike other weight loss balloons in the market today, Elipse requires no surgery, endoscopy, or anaesthesia. The inflated balloon comes as a capsule, which allows you to ingest it with a glass of water. After doing an X-ray to make sure the capsule is in place, the balloon is inserted with 550ml of baffled water. The doctor will run another X-ray to see if it is properly filled. The whole process only takes 20 minutes.

The swallowable weight loss balloon lasts for 16 weeks. After that period, a time-activated release valve opens and allows the balloon to deflate, where the remnants of the balloon are naturally excreted through your bowel movement. Clinical studies show that patients who use Elipse Balloon lose an average of 10-15% of their body weight within 16 weeks.

Much like Mr.Vasoo, alternative weight loss solutions are not enough. You need to create changes within your lifestyle to maintain good results. Elipse helps you in doing so by setting you up with a lifestyle program. Here, you will work with a team of professionals, such as doctors & nutritionists, to create a personalized weight loss plan, including diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices, that will help you achieve your ideal weight. You’ll also be registered in the Allurion smart scale and app, which helps you and your professional team monitor your progress.

Obesity is not a laughing matter. It is a serious condition that can threaten your health in the long run. So, you need to do everything you can to prevent any complications from happening.

With that said, if you find yourself at a dangerous weight, it is not the end. There are various ways to shed off a few kilograms, whether it’s through traditional means, surgery, or swallowable weight loss balloons like Elipse. To start your journey, consult a professional to know which approach best suits your goals.