Have you struggled with your weight and weight loss for a long time? Tried exercise and every diet under the sun, but none have led to lasting weight loss? Are you considered morbidly obese and suffering from other health issues?
As director of Bariatric Services at Phelps Hospital Northwell Health, these are the questions I tell my patients to ask themselves. Morbid obesity is responsible for disability and decreases in productivity and quality of life as well as increased healthcare costs.
If the answer is yes to the questions listed above, bariatric surgery may be the life-changing jumpstart to better health.
Weight loss, unfortunately, is not simply about burning more calories than you consume. In the case of obesity (greater than 30 BMI), many other factors can be at play – including genes, the environment, and food. One in three Americans are diagnosed with obesity and have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Higher amounts of body fat increase the risk of many conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and even some types of cancers.
There’s a misperception that people with obesity simply eat too much despite the impact on their health. Some people believe that if they exerted more willpower over their appetites, they could stop being obese. That is not really true.
Normally, our weight is maintained by our central nervous system and appetite hormones. These systems help to balance our calorie intake with our calorie expenditure. At higher weights, that process is disrupted. Bariatric surgery works to change the internal body chemistry that would otherwise sustain obesity. But bariatric surgery isn’t for everyone. Only people with a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 with significant health problems caused or exacerbated by their weight, are eligible.
While bariatric surgery might be the first step, patients must take the reins and transform their lifestyle by eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Still, for many, this surgery is a lifesaver.
Phelps Hospital now offers bariatric services which includes weight-loss surgery and a comprehensive patient-support program. Most weight loss surgeries here are performed using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgical techniques. For more information or to make an appointment call (914) 595-1439 or click here.