Weight loss surgery / Sur

Experts warn that obesity and other risk factors will triple dementia cases in 30 years

Surgeon César Ramírez says middle-aged weight loss could help prevent dementia later

ÁNGEL ESCALERA

The head of general surgery and obesity services at Hospital Quirónsalud Málaga, César Ramírez, says that obesity is a preventable risk known to increase the likelihood of dementia.

Other risk factors include environmental pollution, hearing disorders, smoking, low educational levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, social isolation, depression, brain damage, alcoholism and a lack of physical activity. "When we delve into their analysis, we realise that some of these factors, such as low educational level, hypertension and diabetes, are in turn related to being overweight or obese,” said Dr. Ramírez.

According to a study published in The Lancet, dementia cases worldwide could triple from 57 million in 2019 to 153 million by 2050.

Dr. Ramírez said obesity increases the risk of dementia by 80 per cent to 200 per cent. Being overweight, but not obese, increases the risk by 35 per cent.

“It’s clear that if we are able to eliminate middle age obesity, we can influence associated comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, and we could prevent the appearance of dementia in many people. This is where bariatric surgery plays an essential role and, based on the above, it would have a primary prevention role against dementia if it is acted on in time,” he said.

“Laparoscopic bariatric surgery, that is, weight loss surgery, is considered the safest and most effective procedure to treat severe obesity. It is a minimally invasive and painless procedure. After the intervention, the patient can be discharged in one or two days,” he added.