Per federal statistical data, if your doctor has told you that you are overweight (or obese), then you have joined over 68 percent of U.S. population of adults who are also that way.

Obesity contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Your health care provider may offer suggestions on how to alter your eating and exercise habits to help you lose weight.

However, when diet and exercise are not enough, you may have to employ other strategies like invasive surgery, medical devices and prescription medications. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons of using these treatments.

Recently, the FDA approved medical devices to help solve some obesity-related issues (like high blood pressure, for instance).

What FDA-approved devices are used to treat obesity?

In the United States, the FDA has approved specific medical devices as safe and effective for weight loss. Most products can be adjusted or removed when implanted in the body, but some treatments come with risks.

To date, there are four medical devices that are FDA-approved for treating obesity in some patients ages 18 and up: gastric balloons, an electrical stimulation system, gastric bands, and a gastric emptying system. Regardless of which device is used, close monitoring by a health professional is required.

The risks for using each device varies, but common side effects are nausea (or vomiting), infection or bleeding.  Even with these treatments and drastic dietary and exercise life changes, some people may still find it impossible to keep the weight off or even lose it to begin with.

Gastric Balloons

An endoscope (small flexible tube with a light and camera on the end) is used to insert two balloons (or sometimes one is used) filled with saline (salt water) to fill up space in the stomach. After six months, the balloons must be removed.

Electrical Stimulation System

This surgically-implanted device goes into the abdomen and blocks nerve activity between the brain and the stomach. It has electrodes, wire leads, and a rechargeable electrical pulse generator that delivers electrical signals to electrodes. There are external controllers that allows the patient to charge the device and allows the health care provider to adjust the settings.

Gastric Bands

A surgeon implants these bands that restrict the amount of food a person can eat. It also increases digestion time, which also promotes lesser eating.

Gastric Emptying System

This is a recent discovery that uses an endoscope to implant a tube into the stomach that drains part of the stomachs contents into a receptacle between 20 to 30 minutes after a meal. This product is not recommended for people with eating disorders (especially bulimia).

 

Indoor Tanning Products

December 8, 2016

Several risks are involved with using indoor tanning products. For instance, if you use an indoor tanning booth or bed, you are exposing your body to UV (ultraviolet) radiation, which promotes skin damage, eye injuries, melanoma and other skin cancers.

Because of the gradual impact of UV radiation, it places children, adolescents and young adults at a higher risk for eye and skin conditions in their later years. The FDA is determined to minimize the damage of UV radiation caused by indoor tanning products by prohibiting the use of these products by people under the age of 18. Also, indoor tanning sites are required to provide literature about the possible risks associated with using an indoor tanning product and have the consumer acknowledge the awareness of such risks by signing an acknowledgment form.

The FDA is also considering another rule that will require makers of indoor tanning products and tanning sites to create more proactive strategies to prevent injuries from using these products.

Dr. Markham Luke, dermatologist and deputy office director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health tells us that using indoor tanning products at a young age (childhood and young adulthood) increases the potential to develop melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Markham also states that several hundred youth each year in the US get injured from using an indoor tanning product.

The American Academy of Dermatology states that exposure to indoor tanning products make people 59% more likely to have melanoma than people who have never used an indoor tanning product.

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2003 to 2012 conclude that there are over 3,000 emergency room visits in the US alone due to indoor tanning product-related injuries. Interesting enough, over 400 of the patients were adolescents under the age of 18.

Things to Keep in Mind for those Still Planning on Using an Indoor Tanning Product

Now the FDA has taken steps to prevent injuries to minors who use tanning products. FDA-approved products will carry a disclaimer that prohibits the use of the tanning product by people under the age of 18. Indoor tanning products are required to have a visible, black-box disclaimer that people under age 18 should not use the product. Also keep these points in mind:

  • Being exposed too long (like near the maximum time for the tanning device) can cause sunburn. Since it takes from 6 to 48 hours to realize your skin is sunburned, it’s going to be hard to tell if you’ve stayed exposed for too long.
  • If you take medications or use certain cosmetics, it may make you sensitive to the sun (UV radiation actually), so consult your physician or pharmacist prior to using a tanning product.
  • Neglecting to wear protective goggles while doing indoor tanning can cause temporary or long-term eye problems.
  • Always follow the directions for the tanning product. If you have skin that easily burns or is hard to tan (or does not tan at all), then it is highly recommended you do not use an indoor tanning product.