Obesity is one of the leading contributing factors for cardiovascular disease across the United States. Being both obesity and overweight substantially increase the risk of death and diseases ranging from hypertension, type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and multiple forms cancers. Nearly 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese.
Aside from the physical symptoms of these health conditions, ‘overweight’ and ‘obesity’ are both terms used to describe ranges of body weight that are greater than what is typically considered ‘healthy’ for a given height. For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height ratios to calculate a measurement termed “body mass index” or BMI. In terms of range for the BMI scale, an adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered ‘overweight’ , where an adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. While BMI uses height and weight to correlate with the amount of body fat of a given individual, it does not directly measure body fat or body fat percentage.
With Obesity, when exercise and diet fail, there are limited options for improving one’s health. There are however, several medical procedures available that can aid weight loss, and ultimately your overall health. There are however specific criteria both physically and mentally to be considered for medical weight loss weight loss intervention.
1. Previous efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful. A candidate for medical intervention first must have tried a nutrition intervention with registered dietician or under doctor supervision, as well as have been prescribed / recommended surgery by the physician.
2. Your body mass index or BMI must be 40 or above, placing you in the ‘extreme- obesity’ range. There are also instances where individuals with a BMI of 35 to 39.9, in the ‘obese’ range, paired with serious weight-related health issues, are prescribed surgical intervention. Similarly, there are special cases with individuals with a BMI ranging from 30 to 34 designated ‘overweight’ , also paired with serious weight-related health problems such as cardiovascular complications are considered for surgical interventions.
3. A team of health professionals typically consisting of your general practitioner, dietitian, a psychologist and surgeon will evaluate you for undergoing weight-loss surgery such as roux en y or gastric banding. This typically including assessing the risks versus of surgery for specific individual. The team will also assess your ability and desire to adhere to specific recommendations made by your health care team, including any prescribed changes to your diet and fitness routine. Certain mental health conditions such as binge-eating disorder, substance abuse, depression, anxiety disorders may contribute to obesity, making it more difficult for an individual to maintain their weight-loss due surgery.
4. A thorough physical exam and laboratory testing. Typical evaluations include assessing past nutrition and weight-loss, previous weight-gain trends, eating habits, exercise programs, levels of stress level and other contributing factors.
5. Your age. While there is no specific age specification for gastric bypass surgery, there is an increase risk of complication in individuals older than age 65.
All of these factors are important in considering medical interventions for weight-loss, due to the fact that specific health conditions can increase the associated risks of having surgery. Some conditions include blood clots, liver disease, heart problems, kidney stones and nutritional deficiencies. It is important to remember that gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries are major, life-changing procedures.
Weight-loss surgeries, collectively known as bariatric surgery, typically decrease the size of the stomach and/or digestive tract to limit how much food can be consumed and how many nutrients are absorbed. This ultimately leads to weight loss.
Gastric bypass or Roux-en-Y surgery is the most common type of weight-loss surgery. The gastric bypass procedure physically reduces stomach size and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine. This ultimately leads to decreased digestion and absorption and allows patients to feel fuller more quickly. The resulting decreased stomach size reduces the amount of food you an individual can eat and therefore reduce the total calories consumed leading to weight loss. Both gastric bypass and other types of weight-loss surgeries, collectively known as bariatric surgery, decrease stomach size and digestive system that limit how much food you can eat and how many nutrients you absorb, leading to weight loss.
Lap band or laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, is a procedure that places an inflatable silicone device around the top portion of the stomach near the lower esophogeal sphincter through a laparoscopic procedure. In contrast to Gastric Bypass procedures, gastric banding is the least invasive surgery of its kind and usually results in a short hospital stay, quicker recovery, minimal scaring and reduced pain in comparison to open surgical procedures. Since there is no partial removal of the stomach or intestine, patients can continue to normally absorb nutrients.
Liposuction, also known as lipoplasty, removes excess subcutaneous fat and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits to create an more appealing body contour and physique. Despite proper health and fitness, some individuals still have excess fat deposits and disproportionate contouring due to genetic limitations.
If you’re very overweight and can’t lose pounds with a healthy diet and exercise, these surgical interventions might be a valid option for change.