New Year, Old Problem: My Weight. Can I reach my 2024 health goals?

Dr. R. Armour Forse
DHR Health Bariatric and Metabolic Institute

Yes, it is a new year, but there is that old problem, my weight. I have year after year resolved to get my weight under control….and year after year it is still there on my list of new year’s resolutions. For many your weight problem (BMI> 30 wt/ht2) is really a disease; obesity!! Yes, obesity is a disease as defined by the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. A disease with complications and death. So why fight a disease on your own? Your 2024 resolution: I need to get help and conquer my obesity. This is the year to treat your disease, successfully lose the weight, and win back your health.

The next step is to commit to attend program seminars, visit with a healthcare professional, and learn about treatments for obesity that you are eligible for. This can be an easy resolution to keep. Yes, you can visit “Drs. Google and Yahoo,” but not all their information is reliable. Instead, meet a healthcare team and ask about professional online sites. Knowledge is your power!! You will learn that for obesity there are three primary treatment options; diets, medications and surgery. You will also learn that the treatments are most successful when provided as part of a comprehensive program includes healthcare professionals, dieticians, exercise trainers, and behavior professionals. Yes, sounds complex, but this is what is needed to be successful, and you want to be successful.

With diets long term success is around 5% for the obese patient. Medications are successful for those who qualify. They require careful monitoring and are not approved for a lifetime. Weight rebound is often a problem when medications are stopped. The other option for treating obesity is weight-loss, or bariatric, surgery. Yes, that’s scary and sounds aggressive; it’s surgery! The fact is, today, surgery is highly successful and a very safe option. Visit local program websites, as well as the web site of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). You will learn that, indeed, bariatric surgery is now considered a safe surgery.

You will also learn that there are two operations, the sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric bypass. With the sleeve gastrectomy, patients lose on average 80 to 100 pounds, while with the gastric bypass, they lose on average between 120 to 150 pounds. Theses surgical

patients eat a small, but healthy, diet and significant weight regain is not a common problem.

Remember that obesity is a chronic disease, and the longer you have it, the shorter your life expectancy. This is because obese patients are likely to develop other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Patients who lose and keep their weight off often dramatically decrease their medical problems and significantly reduce their risk for cancer. These medical improvements associated with weight loss provide the patient with an overall better quality, healthier, and longer life.

No, medications and surgery are not for every obese patient, but if you are a candidate, this is the year for you to find out if it’s for you. As always, the choice is yours. If you or a loved one would like more information about bariatric surgery or would like to sign up for an informational session at DHR Health Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, please call (956) 362-5673. Our experts are ready to answer any questions you may have.