If you’re struggling with obesity, diet and exercise alone may not be enough to help you reach a healthier weight. Obesity is a difficult disease to treat, but success is possible with bariatric (weight loss) surgery.
Bariatric surgery is growing in popularity, an upward trend that coincides with the increasing numbers of obese individuals. Obesity is not simply a matter of being a bigger size than what society considers an ideal weight, but it is the condition of having such an excessive amount of body fat that it is dangerous to an individual’s health, longevity, and quality of life.
Those unfamiliar with the nature of obesity are quick to blame the individual for becoming so fat, either through laziness or bad eating habits. While exercise and healthy eating are important to maintaining a healthy weight, this is usually not the sole cause of one’s obesity. For many people who have struggled with obesity, their condition is often linked to a physiological disorder or genetic component. Studies suggest that obesity is a complex and chronic disease that seems to develop from a combination of factors – genetic, metabolic, environmental, psychological, cultural/social, and lifestyle.
The findings are not to relieve obese individuals of all personal responsibility, but it points to the fact that sometimes medical intervention is necessary to overcome a life-threatening disease. As a society we do not hesitate to treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol or a vast array of other diseases with either surgery or medication. In the same respect, we should not hesitate to treat morbid obesity with bariatric surgery if all other treatment options have failed.
While lifestyle changes are an important part of the bariatric process, the surgery itself is the tool that allows the weight loss to begin. Weight loss surgery is not meant for casual weight loss, but is considered a treatment option for severely obese individuals. This generally includes men who are at least 100 pounds over their ideal weight and women who are 80 pounds over their ideal weight.
Bariatric surgery is not a magical process or an easy road to weight loss. It is also not the first line of treatment, but the last resort approach when diet and exercise have failed. According to the National Institutes of Health, one of the leading medical organizations in the world, bariatric surgery has been shown to provide significant weight loss and long-term weight control in severely obese patients who have been unable to lose weight and keep it off using dietary programs.
What are the Surgical Options?
Two of the most popular methods of bariatric surgery are LAP-BAND surgery and gastric bypass surgery. Other surgical options are the duodenal switch and gastric sleeve procedures. Each procedure has it’s own risks and benefits and must be considered carefully. As there are many options, the question becomes which surgery is the right one for you. A bariatric doctor can help you decide the best option for you based on your overall health, eating habits, and risk factors.