Bariatrics refers to the practice of medicine focused on the causes, prevention
and treatment of obesity. Initial treatments typically focus on diet,
exercise, therapy and medications; however, for more comprehensive, long-term
results weight-loss surgery may be recommended.
Am I a Candidate for Weight-loss Surgery?
The decision to have weight-loss surgery is a significant one, and requires
careful consideration and the recommendation from a bariatric specialist.
It is important to realize that surgery itself is just one of many steps
to be taken toward the lifestyle changes necessary for long-term success.
To qualify, patients must meet certain Body Mass Index and co-morbidity
(having two or more chronic diseases) requirements, which can vary by
procedure. Additionally, patients must agree to undergo several months
of nutrition counseling leading up to a surgery date, and submit to a
psychological evaluation, as required by the surgeon.
Understanding the Health Risks of Obesity
Obesity is more than a cosmetic problem; it is a health risk. Several serious
medical conditions have been linked to obesity, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Obesity is also linked to higher rates of certain types of cancer. Obese
men are more likely than non-obese men to die from cancer of the colon,
rectum or prostate. Obese women are more likely than non-obese women to
die from cancer of the gallbladder, breast, uterus, cervix or ovaries.
Health care providers generally agree that the more obese a person is the
more likely he or she is to develop health problems. Other diseases and
health problems linked to obesity include:
- Gallbladder disease and gallstones
- Liver disease
- Osteoarthritis, a disease in which the joints deteriorate (possibly the
result of excess weight on the joints)
- Gout, another disease affecting the joints
- Pulmonary (breathing) problems, including sleep apnea in which a person
can stop breathing for a short time during sleep
- Reproductive problems in women, including menstrual irregularities and
Psychological and Social Effects
Emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. American
society emphasizes physical appearance and often equates attractiveness
with slimness, especially for women. Such messages make overweight people
feel unattractive. Many people think that obese individuals are gluttonous,
lazy, or both, even though this is not true. As a result, obese people
often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school and
in social situations. Feelings of rejection, shame or depression are common.
Facts About Obesity
What is overweight?
Overweight is defined as being too heavy for one’s height. It is
defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 up to 30. Body weight comes from
fat, muscle, bone and body water. Overweight does not always mean over fat.
What is morbid obesity?
Obesity results from the excessive accumulation of fat that exceeds the
body's skeletal and physical standards. According to the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), an increase in 20 percent or more above your ideal body
weight is the point at which excess weight becomes a health risk. A person
is considered obese if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.
What causes obesity?
In scientific terms, obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories
than he or she burns. What causes this imbalance between calories in and
calories out may differ from one person to another. Genetic, environmental,
psychological and other factors may all play a part. Many scientific studies
have established a connection between genetics and body weight. Children
adopted at birth show no connection of their body weight to the body weight
of their adoptive parents, the people who taught them how and what to
eat. They show an 80 percent correlation with the body weight of their
Genes do not destine people to a lifetime of obesity, however. Environment
also strongly influences obesity. This includes lifestyle behaviors, such
as what a person eats and his or her level of physical activity. Americans
tend to eat high-fat foods, and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition.
Also, most Americans do not get enough physical activity.
Taking the Next Step
To learn more about the bariatric care options that are right for you,
use the links below to find a surgeon and learn about the specific services
each provides. You might also consider participating in a
bariatric support group.
Bariatric Support Group
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Glynn General & Vascular Surgery, a strategic affiliate of the Health System, is proud to partner with
Emerald Isle Counseling to host an obesity/bariatric support group for
anyone who would like to attend. The support group is an open discussion
mediated by Allyn Robb Jr., EDS, NCC, BCPS, LPC, of Emerald Isle Counseling.
Bariatric Support Group-Information