What is Bariatric Surgery and How to Determine if You are a Good Candidate

Bariatric surgery is also known as weight loss surgery. It is often performed on obese people to improve their health and lifespan. Obesity is very dangerous and can lead to health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. No longer considered to be only a cosmetic issue, obesity is now recognized as a chronic progressive disease by the World Health Organization. Because obesity is a major cause of some very serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, many excessively obese people look for weight loss interventions like bariatric surgery to help them lose weight.

Bariatric surgery refers to any surgical procedure on the intestines or stomach and is one of the few weight loss treatments with a history of proven results. The most common bariatric surgery procedures are gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. Once you have made the decision to have the operation, choosing the best surgeon to perform it will be a very important decision. You want to make sure that the surgeon you choose has extensive qualifications, experience, and proper facilities. In addition, the surgeon should work with an equally-qualified team of specialists, including dieticians or nutritionists that will help you monitor your diet after the surgery. Do your research and check out online reviews of others who have had operations performed by specific surgeons. For instance, Barix reviews exemplify why Barix is a leader in the bariatric surgery field.

How Overweight Are You?

Most surgeons will look at your Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine how overweight you are. BMI measures a person’s weight with respect to his or her height and often correlates with total body fat. The higher a person’s BMI, generally speaking, the more body fat they have. BMI is calculated by using a mathematical formula using tables where height in inches is matched to weight in pounds. There are also convenient calculators on the Internet to help you calculate your BMI. A normal BMI score is one that falls between 18.5 and 24.9. The National Institutes of Health define a good candidate for bariatric surgery as:

  • Those with a BMI of 40 or more, or
  • Those with a BMI between 35 and 39.9 who also have a serious obesity-related health problem

You also want to make sure that your insurance company will cover the surgery. Many insurance companies won’t cover weight-loss surgery unless you have a BMI of more than 40.

Are You Ready to Change Your Life Style?

Although bariatric surgery will go a long way in helping you lose weight, if you don’t change your life habits, you will end up right back where you started. Bariatric surgery requires a change in your lifestyle. It is not the easy way out. It is not a magic bullet. Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you lose weight, keep it off, and give you a second chance at living a healthy lifestyle. Some of the changes you will have to make are:

  • Change your diet: It is important to eat 3 regular meals a day and 1 or two small snacks. You should cut out or greatly reduce high-fat and sugary foods and drinks and increase your consumption of vegetables, fresh fruit, and protein.
  • Drink more water: It is recommended that adults drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. You should also cut out or limit drinking high-caloric beverages like soda, juice, alcohol, and energy drinks.
  • Exercise: If you don’t currently exercise, it is important to start. Take it slow with short walks or chair exercises, and gradually build up to a more rigorous exercise routine. Try choosing an activity you enjoy.
  • Change Your Relationship with Food: Many people turn to food, usually unhealthy and junk food, to comfort them during times of stress. Try to find another outlet for your stress and start to think about food as a necessity because it provides your body with the fuel it needs to function at its optimal level.

Before deciding whether or not to undergo bariatric surgery, it is important to understand that it is not a replacement for improving your diet and getting into a regular exercise regiment. If you don’t change your lifestyle to a healthier one, the surgery results will only be temporary.