Finding the Best Bariatric Medicine Specialist in Your Area
Bariatric medicine is a medical specialty that deals with obesity. It attempts to identify causes of obesity, and works towards prevention and treatment. Treatments include diet, exercise, pharmaceuticals, behavior therapy, and surgery in extreme cases. Choosing a bariatric doctor is an important first step. They are real physicians with medical degrees, and are available in almost every city. Obesity is increasing to pandemic levels. Individuals who are obese are susceptible to a variety of life threatening medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer.
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Bariatric doctors are regulated nationally by The American Society of Bariatric Physicians. The society is primarily involved in education and training. They have also set guidelines for the treatment of obesity that set forth four methods for the treatment of obesity. These methods are diet modification, behavior modification, prescribed exercise programs, and medication when needed. The ASBP website has an interactive map that makes it easy to find a certified bariatric doctor in your area.
For the treatment of severe obesity, some bariatric physicians will recommend surgery. Bariatric surgery is proven effective in treating obesity. But, as with any surgical procedure, it is dangerous. Bariatric surgery is an invasive procedure that reduces the size of the stomach which in turn reduces the body’s ability to create ghrelin – the hormone that causes hunger. Researchers are working on a vaccine to curb the effects of ghrelin. This research is currently in the laboratory testing phase, but shows promise.
The Bariatric Medicine Institute, in Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of the premier facilities from treating obesity. According to the Bariatric Medicine Institute, morbid obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. If you do not know your BMI, there are calculators on several websites including The Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Livestrong site and The Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC encourages anybody who is overweight to lose weight. They note that even a weight loss of 5 percent can significantly reduce the health risks associated with obesity. The CDC recommends a balanced approach incorporating daily moderate exercise with a calorie controlled diet. According to their statistics, 34 % of adults and 17% of children are obese, with a BMI over 30. Morbidly obese adults, a BMI over 40, make up over2.5% of the population. And, those numbers are continuing to rise steadily.
Studies by The Centers for Disease Control indicate that there is a shortage of doctors in some areas where the cost of gastric bypass surgery is increasing. Nationwide cost averages run from $18,000 to $35,000 depending on your geographic area and the availability of surgeons. Gastric bypass surgery is not always covered by insurance, with some plans specifically excluding such surgery. Even with insurance, copayments can cost as much as 10% of the cost of the surgery. Medicare will cover the cost for people with a BMI over 35 and at least one other health problem that is associated with obesity.
If you are morbidly obese, then it would be beneficial for you to contact a bariatric medicine specialist right away. This usually starts with a visit to your primary care physician who will then give you a referral to a specialist in your area. This is the best and easiest way to find a bariatric doctor. The health effects of obesity are very serious, with millions of people a year dying from complications due to obesity. Surgery is risky, with close to ½ % of patients passing away due to complications. Surgery also means a change in diet, including a low fat diet supplemented with a multivitamin daily.