Should Weight Loss Surgery Be Considered as an Option for Reaching Your Health Goals in 2024?

While some people head into the new year determined to reach their health and weight goals with “doable” modifications to their diet, exercise and self-care regimes, for more than a third of the Iowan population who are struggling with the long term effects of obesity, the undertaking may seem insurmountable.

Recent studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that 37.4% of Iowans have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more, clinically defined as obesity. What was once perceived as a cosmetic issue linked to overeating and a lack of self-control is now acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a chronic progressive disease influenced by various environmental and genetic factors.

The ramifications of obesity extend beyond aesthetics, giving rise to a myriad of medical and health problems. In adults, obesity is associated with over 60 co-morbidities, including back pain, heart disease, acid reflux, kidney disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Moreover, obesity’s impact on blood flow to the brain increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to a comprehensive study in The Lancet, the more excess weight an individual carries, the higher the likelihood of premature death.

Educating people on the dangers of obesity has done little to solve the problem because permanent weight loss necessitates a complete lifestyle shift that requires making better choices for almost every meal, every day – not just until people reach their ideal weight, but for the subsequent months and years.

In light of these challenges, an increasing number of individuals—approximately 256,000 each year—are opting for weight loss (bariatric) surgery. This transformative procedure limits stomach capacity, enabling patients to feel full faster and naturally reducing their inclination to overeat. Take Scott, a mid-fifties resident of Fort Dodge, who shed an impressive 100 pounds in eight months through gastric bypass surgery, a bariatric procedure that curtails food intake. Notably, bariatric surgery induces hormonal changes that contribute to decreased hunger and increased satisfaction.

Clinical studies highlighted on the University of Iowa’s website emphasize the effectiveness of bariatric surgery. Post-surgery, most patients experience rapid weight loss, continuing until 18 to 24 months after the procedure. Within the initial six months, patients may shed 30 to 50 percent of their excess weight, with an impressive 77 percent weight loss within a year.

Who Qualifies for Weight Loss Surgery?

A candidate for weight loss surgery must either have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35 to 39 coupled with morbid obesity-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or arthritis. People who have a BMI of over 50 may need to lose weight prior to surgery.

How do you calculate BMI?

Calculating your BMI is crucial in determining eligibility. The National Institute for Health offers a convenient calculator  where you can input your height and weight.

If you or a loved one is contemplating weight loss surgery, taking the first step is as simple as calling 641.428.2400 today or using our online form to schedule an appointment..

For many people bariatric surgery is the key to a healthier and more fulfilling life. Whatever path you choose for better health  in 2024 we wish you a very happy and healthy new year.

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