Column: Is bariatric medicine right for you?

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Commentary by Dr. Dimitrios Stefanidis RUN WITH MUG AND BIO

There are many options, surgical as well as non-surgical, that can help you reverse obesity and restore your health.

Of course, nutrition and exercise are key to optimum fitness, but it can be a real struggle to lose weight — and keep it off — when you’re significantly overweight. Very few people can accomplish that kind of weight loss on their own.

Surgical treatment.

Obesity is a chronic life-threatening disease that causes many serious health conditions, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea. Bariatric surgery is an effective weight loss treatment, which, in turn, helps reverse other medical problems.

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, or of 35 with a serious health condition, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. The surgery itself is very low risk and performed laparoscopically (with small incisions), resulting in a faster recovery.

Non-surgical treatment.

However, surgery isn’t for everyone. Not all insurance plans cover it, and not all overweight patients qualify for it. IU Health offers comprehensive non-surgical weight loss treatment plans, supervised by healthcare professionals.

We begin by conducting a complete physical exam, including blood tests and an electrocardiogram. In addition to ongoing medical monitoring, treatment may consist of fitness, nutritional, and behavioral counseling; medication; support groups; and cooking classes.

Dimitrios Stefanidis, MD, PhD, specializes in bariatric surgery. He is a guest columnist and located at IU Health North Hospital, 11725 N. Illinois Street, Suite 350, in Carmel. He can be reached by calling the office at 317.688.2647.


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