Is Bariatric Surgery Right For You?
Why Bariatric Surgery?
Morbid obesity is a serious disease affecting over 15 million Americans. A person is considered morbidly obese when they are 100 pounds above their ideal body weight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40. You can use the BMI calculator to define your BMI.
Being obese can cause many life threatening problems, and too commonly it interferes with personal activities.
Health problems caused by obesity include but are not limited to:
- Coronary artery disease
- Dyslipidemia (high cholesterol and/or triglycerides)
- Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD)
- Sleep apnea
- Urinary incontinence
Even if an obese person does not have any known problems yet, they are at risk for developing all the conditions above and most importantly, a 20-fold increased risk of early death.
For many of these individuals, dieting, hypnosis, self help groups, structured dietary programs and behavior modifications are met with minimal or only temporary success. As weight spirals up and plummets down, feelings of failure, frustration, and hopelessness result.
Weight Loss Surgery has shown to resolve and/or significantly reduce most of these medical problems.
Data suggests that the only long term solution for the morbidly obese is surgical intervention including gastric bypass surgery, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric bands. If you’re considering this major decision, you can contact Dr. Howard’s office to set up a consultation appointment. He’ll explain the options fully and help you decide what would be best for you.
Is Weight Loss Surgery The Right Decision For You?
Patients must meet certain criteria to be an appropriate candidate for bariatric surgery. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide these guidelines:
Previous attempts at weight loss have not been successful, no medical or psychological conditions exist that would make surgery too risky, patient is motivated and willing to undergo surgery and a complete change in lifestyle.
BMI (body mass index) is 40 or above.
BMI is 35 or above with the presence of diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, hyperlipidemia or other serious complications of obesity.
**Patients with a BMI of 30 to 35 may be considered on a case by case basis with the presence of medical problems, but are not usually covered by their insurance company.**
Weight Loss Surgery Risks
Many patients are concerned about the risks of bariatric surgery for weight loss. Research shows that any surgery risks are outweighed by the benefits. Besides increasing a patient’s overall quality of life, bariatric surgery can:
- Decrease mortality rates
- Decrease diabetes issues
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Alleviate sleep apnea symptoms
Buchwald H, et al: Bariatric Surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 292:1724-1737, 2004