Obesity is a common health problem in the United States with an estimated third of all adults suffering from weight that is less than ideal. Those who are overweight may find themselves at risk for a host of complications that range from diabetes and depression to heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer. While the obesity problem is equally distributed among men and women, researchers are finding that men are far less likely to seek out surgical alternatives to help them address weight.
While most bariatric surgeons will tell patients it’s best to exhaust all other options for weight loss – especially healthy eating and exercise – before rolling into an operating suite, the fact of the matter is sometimes surgery is the best option. That goes equally for men and women who are obese or morbidly obese.
Despite the potential long-term health benefits of weight loss surgery, researchers have found that about 80 percent of bariatric surgeries performed in the United States involve women. That means men only make up 20 percent of the demographic. The disparity is something that concerns healthcare professionals who worry about the long-term health implications.
To better understand the disparity, researchers have delved into the topic. They have found that these reasons may impact a man’s decision to undergo surgery to help reduce weight:
• Cultural factors
• Lack of insurance coverage
• Surgery eligibility
• Perception of body image
A 2014 study from Kansas State University also offers some insights. That study found that 72.8 to 94 percent of obese men were satisfied with their overall health as compared to only 56.7 to 85 percent of overweight and obese women.
Whatever the reasons for the disparity, medical professionals urge both men and women who are overweight to take measures to correct their situations. Chronic obesity can lead to a variety of health complications, including those that cause morbidity. To learn more about bariatric surgery and the benefits it can deliver, speak with a healthcare provider.
For the estimated one-third of American adults who are obese or morbidly obese, the struggle with weight is a daily occurrence. When complications begin to set in, such as depression, diabetes or heart disease, the knee-jerk reaction might be to see the easiest, fastest solution. While weight loss surgery can provide the necessary boost to promote healthy, permanent weight loss, it’s not an easy road to take.
While popular misconceptions surrounding weight loss surgery make it seem like the “fast track” to a thinner, healthier body, there’s nothing simple involved in taking this path. While it is highly viable and largely safe courtesy of newer, less-invasive techniques, the reality is those who undergo bariatric surgery need to do so with their eyes wide open. This alternative weight loss options demands a lifelong commitment to produce results in a safe and healthy way.
What do bariatric surgery patients need to know?
• Insurance coverage isn’t guaranteed – While many private insurers understand bariatric surgery has long-term cost-savings benefits, not all companies have come on board. Patients are urged to check with their insurance providers to understand their costs. Many bariatric surgeons, however, offer assistance in this area to help make navigating insurance regulations easier.
• Dietary changes are a must – Once surgery is performed, the true benefits will hinge on how well patients keep up with necessary dietary changes. Meals will need to become much smaller and more nutrition dense to maintain health and weight loss.
• Exercise is critical – Patients who undergo weight loss surgery need to become active to realize the true benefits.
• Results aren’t permanent unless patients commit – The simple truth is weight loss surgery promotes eating less, but that doesn’t mean everyone follows the plan. Unless there is a real commitment, patients will find their weight can come back. It’s critical to follow a post-surgi8cal plan in the days, weeks, months and years after surgery.
Weight loss surgery can produce results where other options have failed. It is not, however, an easy alternative that will provide instant gratification.