Submitted by Springfield Clinic
Many people have a New Year’s Resolution that involves weight loss. Studies have shown that of 41 percent of people who felt successful in keeping their resolution, only 9 percent actually met their goals or kept their resolution. Weight loss is challenging and most of the patients we see in our office have tried unsuccessfully for years to lose unwanted pounds.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is a chronic condition where the body has stored excess food that has not been used in the form of fat. Medically speaking, the definition of obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 or when you are more than 50 pounds over your ideal weight for your height. For a woman who is five foot, two inches, that equates to a weight of 160 pounds. For a five-foot-eight-inch man, that equates to a weight of 220 pounds.
What Causes One to Gain Weight?
Taking in more calories than your body is using. Most common form of excess calorie intake happens by daily consumption of soda, juices, fast food, junk food, or eating large portions of meals. Another cause is a lack of physical activity either due to medical, psychological, or lack of motivation, also known as a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, medical conditions, like low thyroid, can increase your chances of gaining weight.
Why Should I Be Concerned?
When you start carrying more than 50 pounds (obese), you start developing medical issues. Most common medical conditions directly related to obesity are snoring, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes, irregular menstruation, polycystic ovary disease, high cholesterol, and acid reflux. These will lead to early development of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, difficulty in getting pregnant, lymphedema, arthritis, and more.
What Are my Options To Lose Weight?
Diet and Exercise: The most obvious option is cutting back on calorie intake by avoiding empty calorie foods mentioned above and cutting back on portions. You can also increase physical activity that you tend to enjoy. It could be any form of exercise like walking two miles (10,000 steps), jogging, running, biking, swimming, dancing, working out, or yoga daily for at least one hour. Physical activity is the single most important thing with all forms of weight loss. There are a lot of ineffective and effective fad diets, which are difficult to follow over time.
Medications: They help to suppress appetite. This needs a visit to your medical doctor who specializes in weight loss management. Some of the most prescribed medications are Phentermine, Qsymia, and Saxenda. Medications have side effects and cannot be used if you have heart conditions. Also, people may develop a tolerance and do not lose weight. You will still have to control your diet and exercise.
Weight loss surgery: There are two common kinds of surgeries that are popular. Surgeries help you lose weight quickly and maintain that weight loss over time. They are done laparoscopically and have become very safe with less pain and complications.
Restrictive surgeries involve reducing how much you can eat in one sitting. It is achieved either by inserting a balloon in your stomach, putting a band around the top of your stomach (Lap Band), or removing most of the stretchy part of stomach (Sleeve Gastrectomy). Some of these procedures help you reduce appetite also.
Mixed surgeries involve reducing the size of the stomach and rerouting part of the small intestine to create delayed digestion and absorption of food. Options in this category include gastric bypass and duodenal switch.
How Do I Qualify for Surgery?
Patients qualify for weight loss surgery if they have a BMI greater than 35 (75 lbs. over) with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. Patients with a BMI of more than 40 qualify for weight loss surgery without these additional medical comorbidities. While surgery for weight loss may seem extreme, the long-term health benefits can be life-changing. For instance, a 25-year-old patient who is 100 pounds overweight and on medication, such as Metformin, for diabetes has a greater than 90 percent chance of coming off ALL of their diabetes medication in the year after surgery.
Isn’t Weight Loss Surgery Dangerous?
Surgery for weight loss is safe and has shown long-term success greater than dieting alone. The 30-day risk of complications for most patients is less than 5 percent. Almost all weight loss surgeries are done with incisions 4–6 less than one-half to 1 inch! Most patients leave the hospital in 1–3 days. Your surgeon will discuss your individual risks with you at your initial appointment.
What Can I Expect?
At Springfield Clinic we take a patient-focused, individualized and team approach to your weight loss surgery. Our team consists of board-certified surgeons that are fellowship trained in metabolic and bariatric surgery and active members of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Together they have combined experience of more than 20 years performing obesity surgeries. Drs. Hopping and Salimath approach each patient individually taking into consideration your goals as well as medical and surgical history. They will discuss all options with you at your initial appointment. You will also be evaluated by our team consisting of a nurse, nutritionist, psychologist, and exercise specialist. After your first visit, you will have a solid start on your personalized pathway to health!
How Do I Get Started?
The process to complete a bariatric program is a little different for everyone based on your insurance requirements. To get started you can attend a live seminar or call Springfield Clinic at 309.495.0200 for information on available online education. After completing the first steps you will be scheduled with a surgeon. In addition to the first visit, patients will have the opportunity to participate in live virtual education and support groups through Springfield Clinic.