Published on 13. December 2019

An easier life

Professor Dr. Jürgen Ordemann reports on successful treatment options.

"Obese people are not lazy and undisciplined. Biophysiological as well as genetic conditions are common causes of obesity." Professor Dr. Jürgen Ordemann reports on successful treatment options.

IT'S NOT about a few pounds too many that you could lose quickly by jogging twice a week and giving up fast food. It's about obesity – adiposity. It is a creeping disease that usually starts with a few kilos of excess weight. More are then regularly added per year. If the body weight is massively increased, this has considerable consequences for the entire metabolism. It alters hormone secretion, affects muscles and joints, leads to high blood pressure, often to diabetes, also to malignant tumors and many other diseases. Often, the patients also develop depression. At a certain level of overweight, they lose control, they can no longer control it. Not because they are addicted to food, but because the high fat content alters the metabolic processes in the body. More than half of all adults in Germany are overweight, and almost a quarter are obese.
The basis for calculating weight classification is the body mass index (BMI). Its formula: Body weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters. The World Health Organization (WHO) roughly divides the BMI values of adults into different weight classes: From 30, the health risk increases sharply; this is referred to as obesity grade I. From 35, grade II applies, and from 40, grade III.

Decades of suffering

Professor Dr. Jürgen Ordemann is head physician of the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery (metabolism) at Vivantes Klinikum Spandau. "Already at grade I, patients hardly manage to reduce their weight without medical guidance," is the experience of the specialist, whose consultation hours are not infrequently visited by people whose BMI value is over 50 or even 60. "Often they have been suffering from obesity and the serious secondary diseases for decades, and have gone through an „odyssey“ of diets and exercise therapies. In the end, nothing has helped them. They have no zest for life, are desperate and, moreover, are exposed to contemptuous and condescending looks in everyday life. For many, a visit to our bariatric center, to bariatric surgeons, is the last chance to get their condition under control." Obesity can have many causes. Often, several are interrelated. The psyche also has an influence, for example in the case of loneliness and stress. The genetic makeup of humans is not prepared for our current living environment. 

Secondary diseases are even cured

Bariatric surgery is minimally invasive. Wound healing is good, and patients quickly get back on their feet. A common procedure is gastric bypass: the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach, cuts through the small intestine further down and connects it to the remaining mini-stomach. Around 1.5 meters of small intestine less are available for nutrient absorption and utilization. In addition, the food no longer passes through the duodenum, which leads to a major change in hormone activity in the gastrointestinal tract. In "tube stomach" surgery, which is also common, most of the stomach is removed, and the remaining stomach subsequently holds only 100-150 milliliters; normal digestive passage is maintained. Those who undergo surgery lose weight quickly, and diabetes is slowed. "Bariatric surgery means, above all, regaining health and quality of life. Dieting is no longer perceived as torture, but as a normal condition. Consequential diseases improve quickly and significantly, and are often even cured," says Professor Dr. Jürgen Ordemann, summarizing the advantages. Those who have undergone surgery receive comprehensive aftercare at the Vivantes Center, as well as coaching on nutrition, exercise and behavior. "Our patients have a perspective again."

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