January 29, 2019

Diego Maradona – an age-long battle with weight

Argentina may have dropped out of the last World Cup earlier than expected, but Argentine footballing legend Maradona still made headlines with his behaviour at the biggest football event of the year.

You may be familiar with the stories about his drug and alcohol abuse, but did you also know he has struggled with obesity?

Diego Maradona has undergone two rounds of surgery – the first of which was over 15 years ago and the second more recently in 2015.

Weighing in at over 127kg at his heaviest, with a medical history including pulmonary arterial hypertension & diabetes, a diet of pizza and cake and a cocaine addiction for good measure, it would be fair to say this sporting icon was severely limiting his life expectancy. It was widely reported that excessive use of drugs had altered the metabolic effects in his body resulting in morbid obesity.

Getting a gastric bypass

Suffering the physical effects of obesity, he opted for a gastric bypass in 2004. Here, surgical staples are used to create a small pouch at the top of your stomach which is then connected to your small intestine, meaning you require less food to feel full and you absorb fewer calories.

Food and drug addiction over the years had left his body extremely fragile and so his doctors warned he was at risk of serious post operative complications including dumping syndrome, bowel obstruction and stomach perforation. Following his first surgery, Maradona therefore had to endure an unenviable 3 month long diet of liquid food.

After surgery, Maradona lost 110lb and underwent a treatment plan of diet and exercise. Unfortunately given his impulsive personality, he could not stick to this and again rapidly gained weight. His surgeon was later reported to say that surgery is only 50% of the battle, the rest of it has to be down to the patient and their attitude to healthy living.  Because of this, he underwent second bypass surgery in 2015.

Given the huge physical pressure he has placed his body under over the last two decades, he has more recently turned to an alternative in biomolecular, metabolic  regenerative medicine.  The goal being to reactivate a patients basic genetic material. Maradona highlights the physical , as well as psychological, challenge faced by people with morbid obesity.

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