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Why Didn’t Your Doctor Talk To You About Weight Loss Surgery?

The deadly consequences of being significantly overweight can’t be denied. It’s called “morbid” obesity for a reason! Some have estimated that being morbidly obese takes 10 years off your life. All of you probably know that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. And what accounts for heart disease? Smoking causes heart disease, but so does high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglycerides which are extremely common among the obese. Diabetes also greatly contributes to heart disease, and is very common among the obese. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention places diabetes as the number seven most common killer. Cancer is the number two killer, and you know the link between obesity and this deadly killer? The simple fact is just like smoking causes cancer, obesity causes cancer too. The American Cancer Society estimates that one third of cancer deaths are attributable to obesity. They say 187,000 lives could be saved each year if people could maintain a healthy weight.

These are sobering thoughts for the obese. But the good news is when you lose weight, these health problems are shed along with the pounds. When you lose significant weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides all improve or are cured. And your risk of dying from cancer goes down as well. Numerous studies from around the world show that weight-loss surgery results in significant and sustained weight loss unlike diet pills and fad diets. These studies also show that people who have weight-loss surgery live longer than similar people who don’t. Weight-loss surgery saves lives.

So…… Why doesn’t your primary care doctor talk to you about the option of weight-loss surgery? I honestly don’t know, so seriously, ask him. It could be that he knows that if he sends his obese patients for surgery, he would lose the revenue from treating their numerous health issues. Why cut your profit margin? My answer: because you should put your patients’ health before your pocketbook!

Maybe he will say that weight-loss surgery does not work, that people regain weight. It is true that some people will regain weight. 20 to 25% of weight loss surgery patients will regain their weight, and I have my own records to prove it. Will he tell you how many of his morbidly obese patients regain their weight after doing his weight loss program? (Hint: 97-100%) Does he even bother to keep such statistics?

Finally, maybe he will say that weight-loss surgery patients have problems, as if his morbidly obese patients don’t have problems: Diabetes with diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic foot ulcers, pain, amputations, and blindness. Yes, some patients do have complications but they are not usual or expected and can be dealt with. Again, I can tell you my surgical complication rate, can he tell you how many of his patients had strokes, heart attacks or suffered any of the numerous complications of diabetes last year? I doubt it, but ask him anyway, and while you are at it, ask him why he didn’t talk to you about weight-loss surgery.

© Lee Schmitt MD

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