The gastric bypass that Benari got, for instance, resculpts the digestive system. Surgeons seal off a large part of the stomach using staples, leaving behind a small upper pouch, while rerouting part of the small intestine to the new pouch, bypassing the rest. The net result is that less food can fit in the stomach, and there’s much less time for that food to be turned into calories before it exits the body. The vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the most popular surgery in recent years, only tinkers with the stomach, using staples to turn it into a small banana-shaped organ. (There are less permanent procedures, such as the lap band, but these have fallen out of favor due to their ineffectiveness).
These surgeries, even today, come with significant side effects. People have to be vigilant about getting their needed nutrients, since many aren’t as easily absorbed through food anymore. Other substances are too easily absorbed by the body, particularly drugs like alcohol. This vulnerability can then lead to alcohol abuse and may even help explain the slightly higher rates of suicide and self-harm seen in patients soon after surgery. Also distressing is that an estimated one of every 10 patients will fail to lose weight or regain the weight back in the long term, while others will require additional operations to fix complications like stomach leakages.
Chronic pain can reflect injury that hasn’t completely healed. More often, it is caused by nerves that have become oversensitive or by a brain that is misreading the signals it receives. If acute pain goes on too long, nerves and brain can tire of the constant signals and just decide the injury is permanent. That’s why it’s important to treat acute pain seriously. For example, if you injure your foot or your back and don’t treat it promptly — with adequate rest, other first-aid measures, and seeing a doctor if the pain is severe or persists — mild pain can become severe, and acute pain can become chronic.
There are eight dimensions of wellness: occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual. Each dimension of wellness is interrelated with another. Each dimension is equally vital in the pursuit of optimum health. One can reach an optimal level of wellness by understanding how to maintain and optimize each of the dimensions of wellness.