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Weight Loss surgery and Obesity in America

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) estimate that up to 70% of adults may now be overweight or obese. Obesity rates in the United States are now some of the highest in the world, accounting for up to 120,000 preventable deaths each year.  Approximately $190 billion is spent in added medical expenses per year within the United States. Unfortunately, although obesity is preventable, medical experts do not anticipate a noticeable increase in weight loss any time soon.

So what do you do if you have tried a variety of weight loss strategies such as dieting and exercise but you have had little success? Some medical experts suggest bariatric surgery may be an option for some individuals, although it is a serious decision which should only be done after you understand all of the pros and cons of the procedure.

Can anyone get bariatric surgery?


Bariatric surgery is a very serious medical procedure, and it is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Under their guidelines it is available for adults who are 18 years or older, have a BMI or body mass index which is 40 or higher or for those who have a lower BMI but also have other diseases related to their obesity including high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes and heart disease.

Most common types of weight loss surgeries


There are four major types of weight loss surgeries: scopically adjustable gastric band, Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch.  Talk to your doctor about the type of weight loss surgery which might be best for you.

There are several major benefits to weight loss surgery. The most common benefit is weight loss. Patients who have significant weight loss also report they have reduced complications from other conditions related to their obesity. Medical experts admit having the surgery does not guarantee weight loss 100% of the time, but it does increase the changes a patient will be successful losing weight.

Patients also report their hunger and cravings decrease. This is in part because the stomach is often smaller and will require less food to feel full. Other scientists have found that a patient’s brain activity may also be altered to some degree after surgery, allowing patients to have reduced desire to eat when exposed to certain visual cues.

What are the cons of weight loss surgery?


Like any type of surgery, weight loss surgery is not without its risks. For instance, many patients report they have gastro-intestinal distress following surgery including gas, diarrhea, bloating, pain and discomfort. Patients also occasionally reported nutrient deficiency as they restricted their caloric intake. Bleeding, infections, gallstones, ulcers, and blood clots can also occur.

Weight loss surgery will also not address the emotional reasons an individual may eat too much. For instance, if you are eating for comfort or out of boredom, weight loss surgery will not solve these problems, and over time cues to stop eating can be diminished if a patient continues to over eat.
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