According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of US adults are struggling with obesity. These rates have been dramatically increasing over the past two decades. While some of us may consider dropping weight for cosmetic reasons, weight loss for others may be life-saving. In fact, obesity increases risk factors for many diseases that are leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
While we all know dieting and exercise are essential elements of healthy living, those factors alone are not always enough for effective, long-term weight loss. Because of metabolic, environmental, and genetic factors that work against weight loss, diet and exercise alone rarely help people with obesity to lose weight and keep it off in the long run. For these people, bariatric (weight-loss) surgery may be an option.
“For patients considering weight-loss surgery, it’s often not the first time they’ve thought about it,” said Neil Ghushe, MD, medical director at the South Shore Hospital Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “When people struggle with their weight, they often suffer silently because they are afraid of the stigma associated with it,” he said. “We want to make sure people feel comfortable from the start in making the right decision for his or her unique situation.”
In essence, bariatric surgery helps reset the body’s ability to effectively manage weight by altering the complex relationships between metabolism and behavior. The surgery itself typically involves changing the structure of the stomach so that less food is required to feel full. While not for everyone, the metabolic advantages of surgery can be the start of a healthy life and a healthy weight for those where more traditional weight loss techniques didn’t work.
Should I Consider Weight-Loss Surgery?
In addition to the surgery itself, candidates for weight-loss surgery must also commit to life-long changes in eating and exercise habits. Some people assume that bariatric surgery is an easy way to lose weight. The truth is that weight-loss surgery requires lifestyle changes and long-term medical follow-up.
According to the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, weight loss from bariatric surgery can improve or resolve 40 or more obesity-related diseases and conditions. However, there are certain criteria which must be met for someone to be considered for weight loss surgery, including:
- Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40 OR a BMI of 35 or more with an obesity-related medical condition (e.g. diabetes type II).
- Thoroughly understanding the risks involved and being willing to make the required lifestyle changes
- Being unable to lose sufficient weight in other ways
If you would like to learn more about bariatric surgery options, speak with your physician or attend one of our free Weight-Loss Surgery seminars, where experts from South Shore Hospital’s Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery discuss surgical options, the life-long process of keeping weight off, insurance issues, and more. Register online today or call us at 617-732-6960.