Getting rid of excess weight requires lifestyle changes. Nothing can replace diet and exercise, but sometimes it takes a little extra support to reach your goals. You may qualify for bariatric surgery if you have had difficulty reaching a healthy weight through conventional means.
Advantages of Weight Loss Surgery
According to data from the CDC and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 41.9% of adults in the United States are considered obese. On top of that, 9.2% of adults are severely obese.
Bariatric surgery can support those who are severely obese who have been unable to lose weight on their own. There are a few varieties of weight loss surgery, but the usual ways these surgeries help include the following:
- Shrinking the stomach to help with portion control
- Bypassing certain parts of the stomach and small intestine to limit calorie absorption
- Making certain foods more difficult to digest
The end result is extra help when it comes to making lifestyle changes. The goal is to help you have an easier time making healthy choices.
Is It Time for Bariatric Surgery?
Weight loss surgery isn’t for everyone. It’s generally reserved for individuals whose weight far exceeds recommended levels and who have difficulty losing those extra pounds.
With that in mind, the following signs may mean it’s time to consider bariatric surgery.
1. High Body Mass Index
Obesity is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) of over 30. However, simply being obese isn’t enough to qualify for weight loss surgery. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), most surgeons require patients to meet one of the two following criteria to be considered for gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or other weight loss procedures:
- A BMI of 40 or more
- A BMI of 35 or more plus comorbid conditions related to their excess weight
If you meet either of these criteria, then you may qualify for weight loss surgery.
2. Weight Related Problems
As mentioned, a BMI of 35 plus comorbid conditions will typically qualify you for bariatric surgery. Comorbid conditions are conditions that tend to accompany severe obesity. Some of these conditions include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Chronic acid reflux
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders
These health conditions often accompany severe obesity, in which case bariatric surgery would be a potential treatment option.
3. Unmet Weight Loss Goals
In addition to a high BMI and comorbidities, there usually has to be some prior effort on your part. In other words, you typically need to have honestly tried to lose weight on your own before you’ll be considered for weight loss surgery.
Many surgeons—including Dr. Malladi—will have you undergo a supervised weight loss program prior to surgery. The reasons for this are twofold: you’ll satisfy the requirement to try losing weight by normal means, and you’ll get yourself used to the kinds of lifestyle changes that healthy living will take after surgery. In many cases, it’s also a requirement for insurance, so keep that in mind as well.
4. Other Weight Loss Methods Don’t Work
Diet and exercise are the two main tactics for losing weight, so if those don’t work, then extra help is needed. You might have attempted other methods as well with varying degrees of success. If nothing else has worked, then it may be time for some extra help from a weight loss surgeon.
5. You’re Ready to Make Lifestyle Changes
The most important requirement for weight loss surgery is a willingness to make lasting lifestyle changes. Increasing your physical activity and making healthy food choices are key to reaching your weight loss goals, even after surgery. Tackling psychological hardships may also be necessary. If you’re willing to make those changes, then it may be time to talk to a bariatric surgeon.
Know What to Expect from Bariatric Surgery
If you feel like it might be time to consider weight loss surgery, then your next step is to talk to a bariatric surgeon. Doing research on the process can also help as you prepare yourself mentally for what is to come.
Dr. Malladi and her team can point you toward resources that will help you prepare for the physical and psychological aspects of weight loss surgery, all while helping inform you on what to expect. Learn more about Dr. Malladi’s practice to get started.