The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center reported that “surgery improves health outcomes for patients with morbid obesity as compared to nonsurgical treatment.”
Gastric bypass surgery is a drastic and permanent alteration to a person's body and should only be considered after all other weight loss options have failed. The surgery is generally recommended for those who are diagnosed as morbidly obese (at least 100 pounds overweight for a man or 80 pounds overweight for a woman), have been overweight at least five years and have been unable to lose a significant amount of weight thru diet and exercise alone.
One of the most basic standards used to determine if a person is a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery is a persons Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is based on a person's height and weight and used to determine if a person is a healthy weight, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. Gastric bypass surgery is considered for people who are morbidly obese, defined as having a BMI of 40 or higher (which is comparable to excess weight of 100 pounds in men or 80 pounds in women). Gastric bypass surgery may also be considered if a person's BMI is 35 or higher with other serious health conditions that are associated with obesity. Some of the most common obesity co-morbidities are diabetes type 2, severe sleep apnea, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and high cholesterol levels.
If you are looking into your weight loss options and considering gastric bypass surgery, the first step is to schedule a consultation with your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor can answer your health questions, provide medical advice, and discuss your weight loss options including the various weight loss surgery procedures. Although your primary care doctor is not the surgeon who will perform the gastric bypass procedure, he or she will make the initial recommendation for weight loss surgery.
If your doctor determines that weight loss surgery is a beneficial option for you to consider at this time, he or she will then refer you to a bariatric surgeon (a specialist in obesity and weight loss surgery). If the bariatric surgeon agrees that you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery and that you seem to be committed to making the necessary changes, then the gastric bypass procedure may be the right tool to help you lose the excess weight.
In order to determine if you are a good candidate for the gastric bypass procedure, your doctor will review your medical history and weight loss history. The doctor will take into account your age, weight, and any existing health conditions, especially those that are weight-related such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or heart disease. They will ask about your weight loss attempts with diets, over-the-counter or prescription drugs, or exercise programs, and if you have participated in a medically supervised weight loss program.
Patients considering gastric bypass surgery are usually required to participate in a medically supervised weight loss program before undergoing weight loss surgery. Both bariatric surgeons and insurance companies want to make sure that the most effective non-surgical weight loss options have been attempted before it becomes necessary to proceed with surgical options. These programs typically last a minimum of six months with a focus on nutrition, physical activity, and may also include weight loss medications. This type of documented weight loss program will either help you lose weight without surgery or provide the basis for approving gastric bypass surgery. It will help prepare you for the gastric bypass diet and also show both the doctor and insurance company that you are willing to make the necessary changes.
A psychological evaluation is usually a prerequisite for having weight loss surgery. The purpose of assessing a prospective patient's mental health is to determine if they have the coping skills and support systems to do well with surgery as well as to determine their eating patterns and the reasons for eating. If an obese patient has emotional issues which have contributed to their obesity, such as depression, it is important to treat the psychological illness before weight loss surgery is performed. As the surgery will not solve those type of mental issues, nutritional counseling and psychological counseling are very important in the overall treatment of obesity.
Obesity is a complex and chronic health disorder which affects millions of people worldwide. In the United States it is estimated that one-third of the adult population is obese. Not only is the amount of overweight adults on the rise, but more and more children and adolescents are overweight as well. Awareness about obesity and understanding the causes and consequences is important if we want to find effective treatments and help restore health to millions of people.
The causes of obesity are thought to be a combination of factors rather than any one thing. Some of the factors known to contribute to obesity are genetics, environmental factors, psychological reasons, metabolism rate, cultural and social issues, as well as lifestyle choices. These causes don't necessarily predetermine that someone will be obese, but they are factors that have been linked to the incidence of obesity.
Gastric bypass surgery is recognized as an effective treatment for severely obese patients who have failed to lose weight thru diet and exercise programs. Making the decision to have gastric bypass surgery is a life-altering choice and it is important for patients to be well-informed and accepting of the changes necessitated by weight loss surgery. If you are someone who meets the patient criteria and are ready to make a change in your life, then gastric bypass surgery may be the best treatment to help you lose the excess weight and maintain long-term weight control. Most insurance companies will even provide insurance coverage for gastric bypass surgery to qualified patients. Now is the time to take the first step and make an appointment with your doctor to get the process started.
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