Q&A  with Dr Kelvin Higa IFSO President in conversation along with Dr Jayashree Todkar organising secretary IFSO APC 2017

We should have addressed this problem 50 years ago, when we first started seeing this epidemic take hold. We have to change our mindset; ‘diabesity’ is a disease, says Dr Kevin Higa IFSO Asia-Pacific Chapter President

When we talk about an obesity treatment, what are we looking at in terms of Asian and Indian patients?

Diabetes is the king of all diseases, we have to face it.   We think there is an epidemic going on, but it is much more serious. This is a tragedy of an unbelievable scale. There are too many patients and they don’t have the access to the medical care. And that is why it is so important that you should have a congress of like this, so that you can bring the knowledge, and we all can speak on a common ground.

Dr Kelvin Higa

Can we prevent diabesity?

We should have addressed this problem 50 years ago, when we first started seeing this epidemic take hold. We have to change our mindset; ‘diabesity’ is a disease. We have to take this very seriously and start at a very young age. I just heard lectures about child obesity; teenagers have heart disease, that’s something we never heard about. All the people who have never been diagnosed, and now it’s too late like end stage, we need to build a global force to tackle this problem. Not just in India, it’s everywhere.

What is the role of bariatric surgery as far as diabesity is concern?

We have safe therapies, we really have to advocate for the treatment for the patient. A number of times patients are the victims, they don’t have anybody to talk about the problem to. Nobody else is talking about this problem, except the surgeons, it’s a tremendous responsibility, if we don’t do it whose is going to? Patients themselves are very quiet, they don’t see this as disease, and there is a lot of emotion which goes around this.

As obesity is spreading like an epidemic, do you think the numbers of doctors available are enough to tackle this?

Absolutely not. We are fighting a battle, but we don’t have soldiers. We have ammunitions and tools, but don’t have people to deliver.

What is metabolic programing?

We have to understand that patients can do all the right things, they will have right number of calories, proteins and they still have the disease. We can’t do much about the genetic predisposition. One thing is clear this is a social disease. If there is a family history of people who are overweight, then the following generation too, tends to be overweight.

After a patient undergoes bariatric surgery, what advantages do they have?

When we think about the metabolic changes, these things can happen without weight loss. If suppose a person loses a kilogram or a pound, your blood sugar gets under control, blood pressure drops, and sleep apnea goes away.

A message from Dr Jayashree Tokdar, organizing secretary, IFSOAPC OSSCON 2017 on diabesity

Dr Jayashree Tokdar

The message we want to give to the world is that obesity is a serious medical disease. Obesity comes with number of serious diseases, which leads to organ dysfunction.

Obesity is preventable, if you are already obese there are treatment’s like bariatric surgery which can really help you to come out of obesity and get back to your normal life. Presently we need to work on two levels prevention and surgery. Don’t be afraid of bariatric surgery, it is the best scientific tool which can give you relief from multiple disease associated with obesity, it can improve quality of life to a large extent.