You’ve likely heard about bariatric surgery — and perhaps even have friends who’ve done it. But is it a potential solution for you? Here, Dawn Remme, RN, Metabolic Bariatric Surgery Program Manager, provides insight.
You may have been struggling with excess weight for years. You’ve tried high-protein diets, low-carb diets and more. Most patients considering weight loss surgery have tried numerous dieting methods. The truth is, some patients who suffer with obesity are successful dieters. Unfortunately though, excess weigh often returns. This impacts their health and the quality of their life. It can be a disheartening battle.
Weight loss surgery is a big decision. In making this decision, keep in mind that surgery is only one step toward your goal of achieving better health. It is neither magic, nor is it the “easy way out.” Weight loss surgery can offer you a TOOL to help you become more successful in controlling the disease of morbid obesity. By combining this tool with a lifelong commitment to important lifestyle changes, medical follow-up and nutritional modifications, you have the potential to become a healthier you.
Bariatric Surgery By the Numbers
Exploring the facts about obesity, how it impacts your health, and how surgery can resolve or significantly improve your chronic medical conditions is the first step to making a decision. Obesity is medically defined as “excess body fat” and is measured by a mathematical ratio known as the Body Mass Index (BMI). To calculate your BMI, we consider your height, weight, age, gender and body build. Here are the standards:
- “Normal” BMI: less than 25
- Overweight: 25 – 29.9
- Obese: BMI of 30 – 39.9
- Morbid obesity: BMI of 40 or more
Morbid obesity (BMI over 40) is a lifelong, progressive disease, and the prevalence of morbidly obese Americans (100 or more pounds over a healthy weight) is increasing rapidly. According to the CDC, the disease of obesity affects 78 million Americans. Further estimates indicate about 24 million have morbid obesity. Serious medical problems known as co-morbidities often occur when someone is morbidly obese. Studies tell us conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and degenerative arthritis increase in severity as the BMI is increasing in patients.
When may weight loss surgery be an option?
- When someone has a BMI greater then 40.
- If a person’s BMI is 35 – 39.9 and they have significant health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, or other diagnosed health conditions related to obesity.
Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass Explained
To resolve or significantly reduce these health conditions, bariatric surgery can be done when diet and exercise haven’t worked. Weight loss surgery makes changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight. The gastric sleeve limits how much you can eat, whereas gastric bypass limits how much you can eat and reduces the absorption of certain nutrients.
Other Benefits of Surgery
You can greatly increase life expectancy by resolving or significantly improving conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and obesity itself. Infertility can also be positively affected. A significant weight loss and relief from serious health conditions and diseases will greatly improve your quality of life.
Studies tell us that type 2 diabetes is resolved or significantly improved in 84 percent of patients following bariatric surgery. Cholesterol levels dropped in 95 percent of patients. And hypertension and sleep apnea showed improvement in 68 and 80 percent of patients, respectively, following bariatric surgery.