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Quit smoking now to reduce bariatric surgery risks

Smoking is associated with a number of health risks; including infertility, heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and more.

Updated: December 6, 2020
Stop smoking concept
By MBL Featured Blogger: Karen Eisenbraun
Originally Posted: October 6, 2020

Quitting smoking now can greatly reduce your risk for cancer and early mortality, and can even improve your overall quality of life.

If you’re about to undergo bariatric surgery, quitting smoking is more important than ever, especially since quitting smoking will drastically lower your risk for complications during and after surgery.

A 2010 study conducted by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that compared to non-smokers, smokers were at a 40 percent higher risk for death within 30 days of undergoing bariatric surgery. Additionally, smokers tended to experience more pain than non-smokers after surgery and were at higher risk for cardiac events such as stroke and heart attack.

The study authors said that most smokers think they’ll gain excess weight if they quit smoking, which could be true in some cases; especially if smokers replace smoking cigarettes with eating food. Instead, smokers are encouraged to turn to healthier forms of activities after quitting smoking, such as exercise and meditation.

The researchers who led the 2010 study suggest that all smokers quit at least two weeks prior to surgery or sooner to lower the risk for complications during and after weight-loss surgery. The most ideal way to quit smoking is to stop immediately, however, smokers who experience difficulties with quitting can use one or more smoking-cessation aids that can help them quit for good.

Quitting smoking is associated with multiple health benefits; such as improved breathing, improved sleep patterns, better mood, younger-looking skin, whiter teeth, and a higher amount of energy. After bariatric surgery, these positive health factors can allow patients to adjust better to a new healthier lifestyle post-surgery that includes diet and exercise. 

If you’re planning on undergoing bariatric surgery and need help with quitting smoking, consult with your healthcare provider to learn more about smoking cessation options. Products such as nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges can help curb cravings for cigarettes, and you might even be able to obtain prescriptions for medications that can also help you quit smoking. Be sure to inform your bariatric surgeon of your smoking habit so they can take the necessary precautions.

If you are interested in weight loss surgery, check out MBL’s Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss Surgery.

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Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.

Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.

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