Written By: Emma Squillace
Some people refer to bariatric surgery as “a last resort.” We do not like this phrase, because a safe and effective medical treatment should not be the last resort. Instead, it should be an option given to patients at the right time for them. In fact, some studies have shown that certain medical conditions respond better to bariatric surgery when that operation takes place sooner rather than later. Type II diabetes, for example, goes into remission more frequently when the patient who has bariatric surgery has had type II diabetes for a shorter amount of time. Those who wait longer can have a harder time getting their diabetes into remission after surgery. Likewise, other research has shown that the longer somebody stays at a level of obesity, the more dangerous it can be. Of course, the decision to have surgery is not an easy choice. That’s why we are giving you an overview of several factors you should keep in mind if you’re trying to decide if and when you should have bariatric surgery.
Weight gain and weight loss history
If you’ve only recently had a BMI that’s considered obese, you may want to try other weight loss options before considering surgery. For example, if you’re less than a year from giving birth, give your body a little more time. It can take a while to lose baby weight. Bariatric surgery is a good treatment to think about if you’ve had several years of failed attempts to lose weight. Some insurance companies require verification of at least 6 months of attempted weight loss without surgery.
Do you have any comorbidities? This is an important factor in your timing. Common comorbidities include type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis. Any of these weight-related medical conditions may make bariatric surgery a more immediate consideration. Additionally, if you are otherwise at risk for any cancers that are linked to obesity, it’s important to talk to a medical professional about how your weight may affect that cancer risk. Some cancers that have been linked to excess weight are:
• Meningioma (brain tumor)
Ready to make lifestyle changes
Another question to ask yourself is “am I ready to make the lifestyle changes that will need to accompany surgery?” Although some people call weight loss surgery “an easy way out,” they are wrong. Losing weight after surgery is hard work. That’s why it’s important that you are honest with yourself about your readiness to make changes. You’ll be eating smaller meals, needing to chew thoroughly, avoiding certain foods, spending a few weeks on a liquid diet, and likely needing to do more food preparation for yourself.
Do you have a support system you can count on? Do you have a few family members or close friends you can ask for help and encouragement through the process? Are you mentally prepared for the changes your daily routine, life, and body will undergo? Many people look back on the day they had bariatric surgery and say it was the day their life changed. While that can be an incredible feeling, it’s also important to know you’re ready to make that decision, and have people who are ready to be there for you.
People who choose weight loss surgery often lose pounds they’ve been struggling with for years or decades, and many see chronic diseases reverse themselves. But making the decision to have surgery is a major life choice. We are here to make sure you are educated and confident about making that choice for yourself. If you’re starting to think about bariatric surgery, give us a call. Our team is happy to answer questions for you at any phase of the decision-making process. We can be reached at (855) 690-0565.