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Obesity is a chronic disease that affects every aspect of your life.
Losing excess weight can reduce or eliminate several serious health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.
A weight-loss expert at Swedish shares an overview of surgical and non-surgical weight loss programs that can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improve your quality of life overall.
It’s hard to be body-positive when you just don’t feel well. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression often accompany obesity. Losing those excess pounds can shift the trajectory of complex health challenges and help you feel better.
“Addressing obesity and treating it like the chronic disease it is brings substantial health benefits and increases your quality of life overall’ says Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Swedish, Anirban Gupta, M.D.
We talked to Dr. Gupta to better understand the weight loss programs that are available and how they can help you lose excess weight and improve your health at the same time. Here’s what he shared.
Dr. Anirban Gupta, medical director of bariatric surgery, stopped by New Day Northwest to discuss weight loss services available at Swedish.
Q: How does excess weight affect your health?
A: Excess weight impacts essentially every single organ system. It prompts chronic inflammation throughout your body. This can lead to many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and degenerative joint disease.
For some people, excess weight can affect their ability to engage fully and participate in the world – be it with family, friends or work. This can have significant implications for both their economic and mental health.
The bottom line? Excess weight is a chronic condition that limits and impairs life in most instances.
Q: How will losing weight change my life?
A: Lasting weight loss through surgical or non-surgical weight loss programs improves or cures diabetes and other conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and heartburn. Non-surgical weight loss is also known as medical weight loss.
Numerous studies have shown that durable weight loss decreases the risk of future cancers. It also increases well-being, decreases depression and other mental health conditions, increases fertility and improves degenerative joint disease.
The bottom line? Safe and durable weight loss significantly improves the quality and length of life.
Q: What weight loss programs are available from Swedish Weight Loss Services?
A: Swedish Weight Loss Services offers surgical and non-surgical weight loss options that focus on the pillars of weight loss:
- Nutritional education and counseling
- Physical activity
- Healthy behaviors
- Medication management
- Surgical intervention
Whether you receive surgical or non-surgical care depends on your personal needs, goals and insurance factors. In some instances, you may receive only medical weight loss care. Or you may choose care that begins with non-surgical medical options and transitions to the surgical program. Other times, you may start with the surgical option and also receive care from the medical team to help you achieve your goals.
Surgical weight loss
If you are a surgical weight loss patient, your procedure may increase your ability to lose weight. But you will still need to build a foundation based on the pillars of weight loss. In some instances, medications may be used before and after surgery to increase the procedure’s safety and durability.
In general, weight loss surgery may be right for you if:
- Your body mass index is at least 40.
- Your BMI is at least 35 and you have significant weight-related medical problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
Swedish offers several surgical weight-loss options, including:
- Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
- Laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy.
- Revisional surgery if you need a conversion, reversal or correction from a previous bariatric operation.
Non-surgical or medical weight loss
As a non-surgical weight loss patient, you’ll typically receive a plan, education and support to help you address the pillars of weight loss.
There are five Food and Drug Administration-approved weight management medications available on the market today for obesity treatment. This gives you more choices and allows our medical weight loss team to tailor your therapy to meet your unique needs.
A non-surgical weight loss program may be right for you if you:
- Are unsure which treatment strategy best meets your needs and goals
- Don’t want to have weight loss surgery
- Don’t meet the qualifications for weight loss surgery
- Must complete a weight loss program to qualify for weight loss surgery
Q: Is there “pre-work" I need to do before beginning either program?
A: Let’s re-frame that question. There is no pre-work for weight loss success. There is only a journey to manage and mitigate a chronic condition that limits your lifespan.
Medical weight loss typically starts with a consultation with our medical weight loss specialists and visits with our dieticians and psychologists.
Our surgical weight loss specialists collaborate with you to develop an individualized plan that gives you the best probability of a successful outcome. Shared decision-making helps you understand your options and is particularly important when making a life-changing decision about complex, elective surgery.
Our weight loss support groups help you build a network of people who understand the challenges of achieving and maintaining weight loss.
Q: What kind of outcomes can I expect?
A: Medical and surgical weight loss can both bring positive outcomes. Both programs require a significant commitment to life changes such as diet, exercise and lifestyle to be successful.
Significant, durable weight loss is possible with both medical and surgical programs. You typically lose 15–20% of your total body weight with our medical weight loss options and experience up to 35% total body weight loss with surgical therapy.
The outcome is transformational. In addition to improved health overall, your sense of well-being improves, as does your engagement with life and your community. There are very few therapies or specialties that can say that. In addition to providing incredibly high-quality, evidence-based, best-in-class care, we aspire to provide an integrated experience for our patients and meet them where they are.
We have the privilege of transforming multiple lives for the better on a daily basis.
Find a doctor
If you have questions about your weight, contact the weight management department at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.
Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.
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