You shouldn’t be ashamed to see a physician over concerns about your weight and possible health risks associated with being overweight. It is the right thing to do for your body and your future.
See your primary care physician
The first step to a healthier weight is talking to your primary care doctor about any concerns. Your weight alone is not the best indicator for risk of health complications, so your doctor will calculate your BMI or Body Mass Index. It is calculated by weight divided by height, then squared.
This calculation will tell your doctor if you are considered to be normal weight for your height or if you are overweight or obese. The greater the number, the higher your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious health conditions.
What’s the next step?
After determining your BMI, you and your doctor may need to discuss medical and surgical options for weight loss.
The first step is to speak with a dietitian, who can advise you about healthier food choices. Changing your diet and exercising are still the best solutions for long-term weight loss. There are no shortcuts or magic pills that will provide you the same solution.
Some people find they can’t achieve a healthy BMI with lifestyle changes or even medical intervention. These patients should consider weight loss surgery a safe and reasonable option.
Most insurance companies pay for weight loss surgery if you have a BMI of 35 or higher (considered obese) because it is the only known cure for diabetes. It also can reduce or eliminate sleep apnea, high blood pressure and other risk factors.
Insurance companies usually require six months of medically-supervised weight loss before surgery. During those six months, patients may lose weight and educate themselves about the surgery and how it will affect their life and eating habits.
I will share more about medical and surgical options for weight loss at an informational session set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Heart Center auditorium. For reservations, phone 270.443.0202.
– Paige Quintero, MD, general and bariatric surgeon