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Understanding Obesity and Weight Loss

Obesity is a chronic disease that is often misunderstood and the science behind weight loss is very complex. At Alabama Surgical Associates, our team of weight loss experts is dedicated to helping patients in the Huntsville area, and throughout the United States, live healthier and more active lives by providing education, support, and advanced treatment options.

How Does Obesity Affect Health?

There are several ways that obesity can affect your health and overall quality of life. Comorbidities are conditions that exist along with, and may be caused in part by, other diseases. Common comorbidities or medical problems associated with obesity include:

  • Cancer, especially of the colon, stomach, liver, kidney, gallbladder, and breast
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Joint pain/ Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Difficulty getting pregnant/ Infertility
  • Gout
  • Acid Reflux
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Stroke

In addition to these chronic and life-threatening diseases, obesity can also take a toll on mental health. People with obesity face social stigma that can contribute to depression and low self-esteem.

What Causes Obesity?

Some people will tell you that obesity is caused simply by eating too much and not exercising enough, but obesity is actually a chronic disease with multiple contributing factors. While healthy eating plays a very important role in the management of obesity, there are a range of things to take into consideration:

  • Diet The number of calories a person eats can affect weight gain, but also the types of foods. Sugary, fried, or highly processed foods can contribute to obesity.
  • Physical Activity A lack of exercise can cause weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a range of other health issues.
  • Genetics Medical scientists are still studying the way that our genetics contribute to obesity, and although lifestyle choices are the main causes of obesity genes may also play a part.
  • Environment Access to safe exercise spaces and healthy foods can be a factor in obesity, as well as your family or community habits and the level of support you have in pursuing healthy choices.
  • Medical Conditions Certain diseases, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight, as can some prescription medications.

Can Obesity Be Prevented?

If you have struggled with extra weight, or if you have a family history of obesity, there are steps you can take that may prevent obesity:

  • Focus on Fresh, Whole Foods Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables with lean protein and some whole grains and stay hydrated with water throughout the day.
  • Stay Active Commit to a daily exercise routine. Try different activities to find ones you can stick with, and make small changes, like walking to the store or taking the stairs.
  • Sleep Well When you don’t get enough sleep your body doesn’t work as efficiently. Keep a regular bedtime and make it a priority to sleep 7-9 hours per night.
  • Build Community Involve family and friends in your healthy habits. Online support and inspiration can be valuable too. Follow our Facebook or Instagram for recipes and motivation.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

If you have struggled to lose weight, you’re not alone. Everyday people start diets with the intention of losing weight, but studies show that up to 98% of dieting attempts fail to deliver long-term weight loss results. Repeated weight loss attempts can be frustrating and interfere with your overall quality of life. Patients with obesity often need help from qualified weight loss specialists in order to keep weight off and regain their health.

Medical Treatment for Obesity

When diet and exercise fail, there is still hope. Bariatric medicine has advanced and there is a range of minimally invasive options that can offer long-term weight loss. In the U.S. it is estimated that millions of people may be candidates for weight loss surgery, but fewer than 1% will pursue this potentially life-saving option.1 At Alabama Surgical Associates we have helped many patients find their obesity solution. We offer comprehensive care and personalized treatment plans with a full spectrum of weight loss options:

Non-Surgical Weight Loss Options

  • Medical Weight Loss Management Medical weight loss patients work closely with our registered dietitians and our weight loss doctor to analyze and change their habits. Patients will be guided with a detailed nutrition plan. Medical weight loss programs may be combined with other procedures or prescription medications.
  • Weight Loss Medications There are several prescription medications that can help patients jumpstart weight loss or control appetite. Medications may be used in conjunction with a dietitian guided diet plan and may be prescribed for patients who are not interested in or qualified for weight loss procedures. They can also be part of a treatment plan for bariatric surgery patients or prescribed for patients who experience regain after a weight loss procedure.
  • Gastric Balloon This minimally invasive procedure, in which a silicone balloon is temporarily placed in the stomach, is approved for patients with lower BMI, making it a possible option for patients who are not candidates for surgery. We offer ORBERA® and the swallowable Obalon® balloon.
  • Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG) ESG is an innovative non-surgical approach to weight loss in which the stomach capacity is reduced by internally folding and suturing the stomach using an endoscope through the mouth.
  • Non-Surgical Weight Loss Revisions Patients who have experienced weight regain after previous gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures may benefit from non-surgical revision options which are endoscopic, meaning they are performed through the mouth with no external incisions. With Overstitch™, an endoscopic suturing system, the stomach pouch can be reduced in size and Transoral Gastric Outlet Reduction (TORe) is available for endoscopic revision of gastric bypass.

Bariatric Surgery Options

  • Gastric Banding or the LAP-BAND® procedure, is
    a bariatric surgery in which an adjustable band is placed around the stomach to restrict food intake.
  • Sleeve Also called vertical sleeve gastrectomy or VSG, this surgical procedure removes a section of the stomach to help patients lose significant weight while also improving Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension.
  • Gastric Bypass Also known as a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, this weight loss surgery reduces the size of the stomach and also alters the way nutrients travel through your intestine. Gastric bypass can also improve or reverse Type 2 diabetes.
  • Weight Loss Surgery Revision Bariatric revision procedures are available to help patients who have regained weight after a previous procedure. We offer gastric bypass revision surgery, gastric sleeve revision surgery, and gastric band revision surgery, including band to sleeve and band to bypass procedures.

Paying for Obesity Treatment

We understand that the cost of weight loss treatment is a concern. At Alabama Surgical Associates, we have options available to help you prioritize your health and fit weight loss treatment into your budget. Many health insurance plans offer coverage for bariatric surgery. Fill out our free insurance check form and our team can help you determine your benefits. We also offer self-pay pricing for patients who do not have insurance and patients who would like to receive treatment without the requirements of insurance. Learn more about payment options for weight loss, including financing from medical lenders.

Contact Our Huntsville Weight Loss Clinic

The bariatric surgeon and weight loss specialists at Alabama Surgical Associates can help you live life healthier and happier. View our patient gallery to see before and after pictures and stories from actual patients. Contact us if you have any questions about obesity or call us at (256) 880-1977 if you are ready to schedule a consultation appointment.