The Facts About Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40% of the American population suffers from obesity. What exactly is obesity? The simplest definition is the presence of excess body fat, as measured by Body Mass Index, or BMI. Obesity affects more than just a person’s appearance though; it can have significant effects on overall health and quality of life.
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
- Acid Reflux
- Sleep Apnea
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.
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 doctors 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.
Contact Our Huntsville Weight Loss Clinic
The bariatric surgeons 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.