Below, you will find commonly used words when discussing obesity and its many related conditions.

Adjustable Gastric Band: A weight loss surgery tool that is essentially a band with an inner balloon. It is placed by a laparoscopic surgical procedure. The band is folded and locked around the top-most part of the stomach to produce a constriction, between a small pouch of the stomach above the band, and the rest of the stomach. The balloon is conected to a small reservoir that sits under the skin via a narrow tube. By adding or removing saline from the reservoir, the ballon of the band can be inflated or deflated, hence, the band is adjustable.

AMI Soft Gastric Band: A type of adjustable gastric bands that is produced by the Austrian Agency for Medical Innovations Ltd, Austria. It is not available in USA.

bariatric surgery
Surgery that is performed for the treatment of individuals with severe obesity. This type of surgery is also known as obesity surgery and weight loss surgery.

body Contouring: This is a group of plastic surgery procedures performed after massive weight loss, to manage hanging excess skin. Patients have to have reached a stable plateau weight before any such plastic surgery procedures. The person should have achieved a stable weight after the maximum weight loss, and be in good health and not planning on becoming pregnant.

body mass index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI): BMI is a number calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by his or her height in square meters. BMI is often used in determining obesity.

BMI 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy
BMI 25 to 29.9 Excess Weight
BMI 30 to 39.9 Obesity
BMI 40 to 49.9 Severe Obesity
BMI 50 or higher Super Obesity

blood glucose
Simple blood sugar that is the body’s main source of energy. A blood test for glucose is used to evaluate blood sugar levels and results may be used to diagnose diabetes, monitor diabetic control or for screening purposes.

blood pressure
Pressure of the blood on the walls of the blood vessels that is measured in two numbers.

Important mineral for the growth, maintenance and reproduction of human cells.

Unit used for measuring the energy produced by food when metabolized in the body.

Cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that have mutated from normal tissues. These cells prevent normal function of vital organs, damaging essential systems.

Recent studies suggest that those with a BMI more than 40 (severe obesity) had death rates from cancer that were 52 percent higher for men and 62 percent higher for women, as compared to rates for normal-weight men and women. In both men and women, higher BMI is associated with higher death rates from cancers of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and kidney. The same trend applies to cancers of the stomach and prostate in men, and cancers of the breast, uterus, cervix, and ovaries in women.

Almost half of post-menopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer have a BMI greater than 29. One study indicates (the Nurses’ Health Study) women who gain more than 20 pounds from age 18 to midlife double their risk of breast cancer, compared to women whose weight remained stable.

A waxy substance that circulates in the bloodstream. When the level of cholesterol in the blood is too high, some of the cholesterol is deposited in the walls of the blood vessels. Over time, these deposits can build up until they narrow the blood vessels, causing arteriosclerosis, which reduces the blood flow. The higher the blood cholesterol level, the greater is the risk of getting heart disease. Blood cholesterol levels of less than 200 mg/dL are considered desirable. Levels of 240 mg/dL or above are considered high and require further testing and possible intervention. Levels of 200-239 mg/dL are considered borderline. Lowering blood cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease.

Medical illnesses/diseases that are either caused by or contributed to by morbid obesity. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and arthritis (to name a few). Presence of these co-morbidities lowers the weight threshold for surgical treatment from a BMI of 40+ to 35+.

complex carbohydrate
Starch and dietary fiber

congestive heart failure (CHF)
Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart’s function as a pump is inadequate to meet the body’s needs.

coronary heart disease (CHD)
The type of heart disease due to narrowing of the coronary arteries.

Diabetes is a life-long disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. It can be caused by too little insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar), resistance to insulin, or both.

Among those diagnosed with type 2 (non insulin-dependent) diabetes, 67 percent have a BMI greater than 27 and 46 percent have a BMI greater than 30. Nearly 17 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes, accounting for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases. An additional 20 million have impaired glucose tolerance, sometimes called pre-diabetes, which is a strong risk factor for developing diabetes later in life. An estimated 70 percent of diabetes risk in the U.S. can be attributed to excess weight.

dietary fiber
Plant food components, including plant cell walls, pectins, gums, and brans that cannot be digested.


As you chew food, your salivary glands secrete enzymes that help begin the process of digestion.

When you swallow food, muscle action brings the food down your esophagus, or food pipe, and empties through a one-way valve into the stomach.

This organ is considered the food ‘reservoir’ – storing food and sending it slowly to the small intestine. In the stomach, protein, fats and carbohydrates are partially digested into smaller portions. As food leaves the stomach through another one-way valve, it empties into the small intestine. Normally, the stomach can hold about three pints of food after a single meal.

small intestine
Also known as the small bowel, the small intestine is responsible for most digestion and absorption of food – protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fats. The mixture of digestive juices helps break down the food so that it can be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. The small intestine is divided into 3 sections: the duodenum – the first section and attached to the stomach; jejunum – the middle section responsible for most of the digestion and absorption of food; and the ileum – the third section and attached to the large intestine.

The liver produces bile – an important chemical aiding digestion. Bile drains into the gallbladder where it is stored until needed for digestion.

The gallbladder is attached underneath the liver; it stores and concentrates bile. When food enters the stomach, it ‘signals’ the gallbladder to squeeze out bile into the duodenum for digestion.

The pancreas is located behind the stomach and produces enzymes essential to digestion. These enzymes are also released into the duodenum when food in the stomach ‘signals’ the start of the digestion process.

large Intestine
Also known as the large bowel, most fluids are absorbed in the large intestine. The leftover waste products from food digestion are concentrated and passed through the rectum as stool.

With proteins and carbohydrates, fat, also known as lipid, is one of the three types of nutrients used as energy sources by the body. The energy produced by fats is nine calories per gram. Proteins and carbohydrates each provide four calories per gram. Hence, fat is more than twice as caloric as protein and carbohydrate.

fatty acids
Fatty acids supply energy and promote absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Some fatty acids are “essential,” because they cannot be made by the body.

gallbladder disease
Gallbladder disease includes inflammation, infection, stones, or obstruction of the gallbladder.

gastric bypass surgery
One type of procedure that can be used to cause significant weight loss. The surgery makes the stomach smaller and part of the stomach and small intestines are literally bypassed (skipped over) so that fewer calories are absorbed.

Using staples, the stomach is divided into a small pouch above the staples with the remaining stomach (more than 95%) below.

gout and hyperuricemia
Gout is condition that results from crystals of uric acid depositing in tissues of the body. Gout is characterized by an overload of uric acid in the body and recurring attacks of joint inflammation (arthritis). Chronic gout can lead to deposits of hard lumps of uric acid in and around the joints, decreased kidney function, and kidney stones.

heart disease
Heart disease is any disorder that affects the heart’s ability to function normally. The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.

Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in the esophagus, just below the breastbone. The pain often rises in your chest and may radiate to your neck or throat.

Part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissue.

high blood pressure
High blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Hypertension (high blood pressure) is when your blood pressure frequently goes over 140/90 mm Hg.

About 1 in every 5 adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs more often in men than in women. In addition, African Americans are affected almost twice as much as Caucasians. The prevalence of hypertension in overweight U.S. adults is 22.1 percent for men with a BMI greater than 25 and less than 27; 27.0 percent for men with a BMI greater than 27 and less than 30; 27.7 percent for women with a BMI greater than 25 and less than 27; and 32.7 percent for women with a BMI greater than 27 and less than 30.

high cholesterol
Lipid disorders are when you have excess fatty substances in your blood. These substances include cholesterol and triglycerides. Having a lipid disorder makes you more likely to develop arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

The prevalence of high blood cholesterol (greater than 240 mg/dL) in overweight U.S. adults is 19.1 percent for men with a BMI greater than 25 and less than 27; 21.6 percent for men with a BMI greater than 27 and less than 30; 30.5 percent for women with a BMI greater than 25 and less than 27; and 29.6 percent for women with a BMI greater than 27 and less than 30.

high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
The so-called good cholesterol. Cholesterol travels in the blood combined with protein in packages called lipoproteins. HDL is thought to carry cholesterol away from other parts of the body back to the liver for removal from the body. A low level of HDL increases the risk for coronary heart disease, whereas a high HDL level is protective.

hypertension (high blood pressure HBP)
High blood pressure or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. The arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all of the tissues and organs of the body.

Elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood.

Low blood pressure.

ideal weight
A concept that relates body weight to health and longevity (length of one’s life) developed from life insurance statistics. Ideal weight expressed as BMI is less than 26. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30-39 while morbid obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 40.

Hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy.

insulin dependant diabetes mellitus
A chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas makes little or no insulin because specialized cells have been destroyed. The body is then not able to use the glucose (blood sugar) for energy.

low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
The so-called bad cholesterol. LDL contains most of the cholesterol in the blood and carries it to the tissues and organs of the body, including the arteries. Cholesterol from LDL is the main source of damaging buildup and blockage in the arteries. The higher the level of LDL in the blood, the greater is the risk for coronary heart disease.

malabsorptive:The body’s digestive system is altered so that food is poorly digested, so that excess calories in are incompletely absorbed and eliminated in the stool. Purely malabsorptive surgeries can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health issues, however, and Scottsdale Bariatric Center does not endorse or perform these type of surgeries.

The sum total of all the chemical reactions that go on in living cells.

non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
The most common form of diabetes. People with non insulin-dependent diabetes produce some insulin, sometimes even large amounts. However, either their bodies do not produce enough insulin or their body cells are resistant to the action of insulin.

Obesity, a condition characterized by excessive body fat, is defined by genetic and environmental factors that are difficult to control with dieting.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease causing deterioration of the joint cartilage (the softer parts of bones which cushion their connections to each other) and the formation of new bone (bone spurs) at the margins of the joints.

Excess body weight

Pickwickian syndrome
The combination of obesity, somnolence (sleepiness), hypoventilation (underbreathing), and plethoric (red) face.

Proteins are made of amino acids, which are called the building blocks of the cells. Protein is found in many foods such as meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

psychological depression
Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended time.

restrictive: The amount of food intake is restricted by altering the digestive system.

saturated fatty acids
Levels of saturated fatty acids are especially high in meat and dairy products that contain fat. Saturated fatty acids are linked to increased blood cholesterol levels and a greater risk for heart disease.

sedentary behavior
A pattern of behavior that is relatively inactive, such as a lifestyle characterized by a lot of sitting.

severe obesity
A magnitude of obesity that qualifies someone for surgical treatment. Weight criteria are approximately 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight, or a BMI of 40 or higher.

sleep apnea
Sleep apnea refers to interruption of breathing during sleep. Apnea is a Greek word that means “want of breath.” The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the soft palate around the base of the tongue and the uvula relax, obstructing the airway. The airway obstruction causes the level of oxygen in the blood to fall (hypoxia), increases the stress on the heart, elevates blood pressure, and prevents the patient from entering “REM sleep,” the restful and restorative stage of sleep.

stomach stapling
A general, generic term that is not used by bariatric surgeons because it tends to be too nonspecific. Many types of bariatric operations involve stapling the stomach.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (artery) that supplies blood to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. Within minutes, the nerve cells in that area of the brain are damaged, and they may die within a few hours. As a result, the part of the body controlled by the damaged section of the brain cannot function properly.

trans-fatty acids
Alternate forms of naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acids produced in fats as a result of hydrogenation, such as when vegetable oil becomes margarine or shortening. Trans-fatty acids also occur in milk fat, beef fat, and lamb fat. These fatty acids have been associated with increased blood cholesterol levels.

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