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    May 29, 2014

    Huge weight off their tummies... better health

    THE family of three were weighed down by their obesity.

    Their combined weight: 385kg.

    At 125kg, Samat Said, 65, suffered from arthritis, diabetes and hypertension.

    His wife, Salmah Ahmad, 59, was 105kg and had diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

    Their daughter, Sakdah Samat, whose weight was 155kg, had asthma attacks and felt breathless so often she was taken to the accident and emergency department no fewer than five times last year.

    They were issued an ultimatum by their doctors: Lose weight, or else.

    Madam Salmah said: "The doctor was increasing the (medicine) dosage for my diabetes to keep it under control.

    "He said that if I opted for surgery, there would be a high chance of me being free from my illnesses."

    She underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2012, and her husband followed suit two months later.

    Miss Sakdah, 35, who saw the success of her parents' operations, went for gastric sleeve surgery last September.

    Based on their needs, these options were recommended by Dr Jaideepraj Rao, the director of the bariatric surgery programme at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

    The couple put on weight after they became less active in their later years, but Miss Sakdah had weight issues her whole life.

    In Primary 5, she weighed 65kg. "I was always the biggest in school. My friends always called me 'fatty'," said Miss Sakdah, who is 1.55m tall.

    She kept on having five full meals of rice, noodles and deep-fried food until she had to be hospitalised for her asthma attacks last year.

    All three qualified for subsidy because of their condition, and paid for the surgery through Medisave and MediShield.

    They had to go through tests and counselling to make sure they were fit for surgery and physically and mentally prepared for the extreme lifestyle changes ahead.

    To date, they have each lost more than 30kg.

    Mr Samat and his wife are now 92kg and 68kg, respectively, and no longer have to take medication for hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.

    Their daughter now weighs 124kg and no longer suffers from breathlessness.

    Miss Sakdah clocks three hours of swimming at least four times a week and supplements that with gym sessions on weekends.

    Her parents take more walks and lead more active lifestyles.

    Having an easier time shopping for clothes is a bonus, said Mr Samat, who lost 10 inches on his waist.

    "We used to wear dark-coloured clothes to look smaller. Now we can wear brighter colours again," he said with a laugh.