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Could Weight-Loss Surgery Save Your Life?

Could Weight-Loss Surgery Save Your Life?

Obesity goes beyond carrying extra pounds on your waistline. It means you have an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and cancer.

Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows it’s not easy. A healthy diet and exercise regimen are difficult to maintain. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 90 percent of people who make these efforts will regain their weight within a year.

“For the morbidly obese, sustained weight loss is even harder. Severe obesity is a chronic condition, and yo-yo dieting can subject the body to serious health risks,” said David Greenbaum, MD, medical director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County. “When diet and exercise fail, weight-loss surgery can help.”

Lower Odds of Dying from Obesity
Bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery restricts the size of the stomach and limits production of the hormone that causes the sensation of hunger. As a result, patients feel full after consuming less food. This reduces calorie intake and helps ensure that fewer excess calories are absorbed by the body. Types of surgeries include gastric banding, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, duodenal switch and vertical gastrectomy.

An NIH study found that 10 to 15 years after having weight-loss surgery, obese patients were less likely to develop–and more likely to recover from–diabetes and other heart disease risk factors. Ten to 15 years following surgery, bariatric patients also show a nearly 100 percent reduction in mortality, compared with obese patients who have not undergone the procedure, according to Dr. Greenbaum.

Weight-loss surgery also appears to improve the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. A severely obese person has 10 times the risk of developing diabetes as a normal individual. Recent studies suggest that bariatric surgery–combined with diet and increased physical activity–can cause diabetes to go into “remission.”

“By improving their diabetes, patients also reduce their risk for serious conditions like heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Greenbaum said.

Consider Your Candidacy
Men and women who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or a BMI of at least 35 with obesityrelated health issues are candidates for bariatric surgery. Those issues include hypertension, heart disease, diabetes or severe sleep apnea.

“Every weight-loss procedure requires you to commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise. Consult your doctor for his or her opinion on your weight-loss options,” Dr. Greenbaum said.

Weighing Surgery?
Are you thinking of having bariatric surgery? Find out what options are available. Call 1-888-LOURDES (568-7337) today to get our FREE brochure.

Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County are accredited Bariatric Surgery Centers of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Surgical Review Corporation. To learn more and find a Lourdes bariatric surgeon, visit

David Greenbaum, MD For more information about Dr. Greenbaum or another Lourdes expert, call 1-888-LOURDES (568- 7337) or visit the Lourdes Health System Web site at and click on “Find a Physician.”

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