Muhammad Asad, M.D.: Bariatic surgery effective treatment in growing problem of obesity - GoErie.com
Muhammad Asad | Special to the Erie Times-News
Gaining weight and obesity has emerged as a significant health issue worldwide. Statistics show that more than one-third of the U.S. population is suffering from obesity.
Projections show half the population may suffer from obesity in another few decades.
Obesity is progressive and can have potentially life-threatening consequences. Billions are spent yearly in treating obesity and its associated conditions.
Bariatric surgery is currently considered one of the most effective modalities to help reduce weight. Someone with a body mass index greater than 35 with certain medical conditions may qualify for surgery.
Sleeve gastrectomy is the most common procedure for weight loss in recent years. It has surpassed gastric bypass and the gastric adjustable band.
Popularity of the band peaked around 2008 but is now done much less often due to a high complication rate and poor long-term weight goals. Another procedure, duodenal switch and its variants, are done at a handful of centers.
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Still, the trends are ever changing and include options that are considered experimental at this time.
Medical management of obesity has emerged in recent years as a well-accepted modality. Currently, there are several weight loss medications available.
The use of these medicines must be done very carefully. Unfortunately, most of the approved medications to treat obesity are still expensive and insurance coverage is limited.
Health systems now recognize the urgency and need to deal with the problem of obesity affecting communities. Primary care physicians are typically afforded little time to devote to any one specific problem.
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This disparity may cause treatment delays that directly impact the health of our citizens in all age groups and economic backgrounds. The good news is that there are specialists dedicated to managing and eradicating this disease and global crisis.
These doctors are bariatricians and bariatric surgeons. They lead the fight starting with education and expertise to allow those who suffer from obesity, and the associated health problems, a chance to reclaim their wellbeing.
Skilled physicians in this specialty should belong to an accredited hospital with a dedicated program. This certifies they follow rigorous safety standards to ensure the best outcomes for patients.
Muhammad Asad, M.D., is a bariatric surgeon at UPMC Hamot.