We’ve all been there.
You’re sitting in your doctor’s office, perhaps for an annual physical, perhaps to have an illness or injury checked out by a specialist. You’re already a little nervous as your “white coat syndrome” has already kicked-in and your blood pressure reading a few minutes earlier shows you borderline hypertensive.
But what you’re really anxious about is the news that will soon come directly from your physician. You know it’s coming and you ready yourself with an army of excuses.
“(Insert your name here), I’m getting a little concerned about your weight. I think you should be, too.”
There it is. Like a ton of bricks being dropped on you from above, it hits you. “I need to lose weight and I need to now!”
But how do you do that when it seems that everything you’ve tried in the past has failed? Well, consider the following:
A February 1, 2020, article published in Scientific American made the argument that in many cases doctors need to focus less on a patient’s weight and look more individually at things such as personal physiology and behavior. The article further states that one report discovered that a higher body mass index (BMI, the ratio of height to weight) “only moderately increased the risks for diabetes among healthy subjects” and that unhealthy thin people were twice as likely to get diabetes as healthy overweight people.
The editors also point out that, despite such findings, physicians routinely recommend dieting for weight loss as means to address issues such as high cholesterol and insomnia in obese patients. They argue that doctors should stop pressuring all patients to lose weight and shift the focus away from weight because, unfortunately, as millions of American know, very few diets actually work in the long term.
“But just because diets don’t work, doesn’t mean we should ignore the significant effects of obesity,” stresses Leslie Pristas, DO, medical director of the Center for Bariatric Surgery at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, “Rather, we should be educating people about ways to lose weight successfully. Not only is obesity associated with a much higher risk of premature death, the overall cost to our economy is staggering.”
In fact, a study completed by the Society of Actuaries showed that obesity costs the U.S. economy some $270 billion per year. Further, obese individuals spend 42 percent more on medical expenses and 77 percent more on medications per year than individuals of normal weight.
“No question, we need to closely examine the overall health of our patients, not simply body weight, when prescribing changes in their lifestyle,” emphasizes Dr. Pristas. Dr. Pristas, a surgeon who performs hundreds of bariatric procedures annually that drastically improve lives permanently, understands that looking at the overall health of the patient is vital before recommending bariatric surgery or a medical weight loss program.
“Bariatric surgery is not for everyone,” says Dr. Pristas. “But if we holistically examine each individual and completely understand their health needs, we can make a real, lasting difference. We are fortunate at St. Vincent’s to have several surgical and non-surgical weight loss options available for our patients.”
“The bottom line is that obesity is a significant problem throughout our society, but we can help…now,” concludes Dr. Pristas. “Our surgical options for those who qualify can prevent or cure numerous maladies, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Our Bariatric Surgery program can also significantly decrease the risk of certain cancers and, without question, add quality years to our patients’ lives.”
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has been helping people lose weight for more than 20 years. The first nationally accredited Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery in northeast Ohio, St. Vincent Charity has helped more than 8,000 people achieve healthier lives through weight loss. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Pristas or one of our other highly skilled weight loss surgeons, complete the consultation form here or call 216.592.2801.