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What Is Bariatric Medicine?
As waists expands, doctors have begun to focus on bariatric medicine to combat obesity. This specialty field helps patients attain a healthy weight through lifestyle changes, and in some scenarios, through surgery.
Wellness and bariatric medicine
When starting a weight loss journey, people can turn to regular physicians or wellness spas that specialize in weight loss. These clinics are staffed with doctors who have studied bariatric medicine and can provide information on the best techniques to shed pounds. By combining diet, exercise and the guidance of a bariatric physician, a patient learns how to adjust their normal routines in order to reach weight-loss goals.
During an initial consultation, the doctor may perform bloodwork to rule out any secondary conditions related to obesity, including diabetes and high cholesterol levels. If any underlining medical issues are found, the doctor can then advise a patient on the steps necessary to get their health back under control.
Surgery and bariatric medicine
If initial weight loss efforts are not successful, a doctor may suggest bariatric surgery. The American Society for Bariatric Surgery states that a patient can qualify for bariatric surgery when having BMI greater than 40 or a BMI is greater than 35 along with suffering from a secondary disease related to obesity. As bariatric medicine has advanced, surgeons have developed different options for bariatric surgery.
Gastric bypass surgery
In this surgery, the doctor removes the lower part of the stomach and reattaches the upper part of the stomach directly to the intestines. This creates a smaller stomach pouch, which is intended to restrict the amount of food a person can take in during a meal.
Similar to the gastric bypass surgery, this procedure removes a portion of the stomach to limit how much food can be consumed. Where a gastric bypass leaves at least 50% of the stomach intact, the sleeve gastrectomy procedure removes 75% of the stomach. This creates a narrow tube connection between the stomach and small intestines.
Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch
This procedure removes a section of the stomach same as the gastric sleeve surgery, but it also removes a section of duodenum, the first segment of the small intestines. Most nutrient absorption occurs in the duodenum as the pancreas and bile work to breakdown food. Bypassing this portion of the digestive tract decreases the amount of calories absorbed.
Adjustable gastric banding
Gastric banding is the least invasive approach as it does not require removal of stomach sections. Instead, an inflatable band is placed around the stomach. This band creates two sections within the stomach, slowing down the process of food emptying from the upper stomach section into the lower section. This procedure is also reversible as the band can be removed.
Bariatric medicine tackles obesity with a combination of dietary management, exercise routines and weight loss supplements. If lifestyle changes cannot change the numbers on the scale, patients have surgical options to help reach their goal weight.
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