What is Obesity?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase in 20 percent or more above your ideal body weight is the point at which excess weight becomes a health risk. Today 115 million Americans, more than one-third of the adult population, are overweight or obese. An estimated 5 to 10 million of those are considered morbidly obese.
Obesity becomes "morbid" when it reaches the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions (such as sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes and more) or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities) that result either in significant physical disability or even death.
According to the American Medical Association, obesity is now defined as disease and must be treated as such. Often, it is a chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time. Morbid obesity can cause many life-threatening health problems and ultimately lead to a shorter life. The risk of an early death for those who are obese is two times that of a non-obese person.
There are several medically accepted criteria for defining morbid obesity. You are likely morbidly obese if you are one or more of the following:
- more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight, or
- have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, or
- have a BMI of over 35 with significant additional health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, joint disease, high cholesterol and/or infertility related to being severely overweight.
If you are struggling with morbid obesity, and have been unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting and exercise; Bariatric Surgery may be right for you. Together, you and your bariatric surgeon take steps to determine:
- If surgery is the right treatment for you
- Which type of procedure is right for you
- If you are mentally and emotionally prepared to make lifelong lifestyle changes
- That you have, or will have, the necessary support system around you
Once you and your surgeon have determined that weight loss surgery is an option for you, you will begin the prequalification process. This includes a series of tests and meetings with a registered dietician, Bariatric psychologist, and other support staff members in sessions leading up to surgery. Each healthcare professional will help you prepare for the changes and challenges that lie ahead.