Published on November 5, 2023, 12:53 am
Obesity is a significant health concern that not only affects our appearance but also has a severe impact on our lifespan. According to Dr. Brad Beckham of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, being obese can lead to premature death by as much as 5 to 15 years. In the past, weight loss strategies focused primarily on diet and exercise. However, in the last two decades, medical professionals have come to understand that weight is influenced by various factors, including genetics and hormones.
Dr. Beckham explains that fat in our bodies is not just a passive storage mechanism; it is an active organ that produces hormones affecting hunger, satisfaction, and calorie burning ability. This discovery has prompted doctors to adopt a more comprehensive approach to weight management. In some cases, extreme changes in diet and exercise may even result in more weight gain over time due to the body’s tendency to return to its “set point” through homeostasis.
To address this complex issue, Baptist Memorial Hospital has introduced a new program that offers surgical options for weight loss. One common procedure is laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which involves removing about three-quarters of the stomach through small incisions. This reduces the stomach’s capacity and eliminates the region responsible for producing hunger hormones, resulting in decreased appetite.
According to Dr. Beckham, patients who undergo this surgery typically experience a significant reduction in weight during the first year post-operation—around 25% of their total weight or 60% of excess body weight on average. However, maintaining long-term results requires adopting dietary and lifestyle changes along with the surgery. Patients are advised to follow a ketogenic-like diet with an emphasis on high protein intake and low carbohydrates while consuming whole and unprocessed foods.
It’s worth noting that laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or other weight loss surgeries may be recommended for individuals with a BMI (Body Mass Index) as low as 30 if they have additional health issues contributing to their obesity. For those with a BMI of 35 to 40, the recommendation for surgery becomes even more likely.
Beyond weight loss, combating obesity offers numerous health benefits. Losing weight can help manage chronic conditions like fatty liver disease and diabetes. More importantly, the improvements extend far beyond numbers on a scale. Dr. Beckham emphasizes the significance of non-scale victories, such as improved chronic diseases or personal achievements like being able to play with their children or tie their shoes independently after years.
Addressing obesity requires a multifaceted approach that goes beyond simple calorie counting. By understanding the hormonal and genetic factors influencing weight, medical professionals can provide tailored solutions such as surgical interventions when necessary. Combined with dietary and lifestyle changes, these approaches not only facilitate weight loss but also contribute to overall well-being and healthier lives.
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Source: This article is based on an original article from The Commercial Dispatch website (cdispatch.com) titled “Baptist doctor: 25% weight reduction possible with surgery, diet, exercise.”