Morbid obesity is a chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time. An estimated 5-10 million Americans are considered morbidly obese. Obesity becomes “morbid” when it reaches the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities) that can result either in significant physical disability, or even death.
Weight loss surgery's growing use to treat morbid obesity is the result of three factors: Our current knowledge of the significant health risks of morbid obesity; the relatively low risk and complications of the procedures versus not having surgery; and the ineffectiveness of current non-surgical approaches to produce sustained weight loss. The best way to get a full assessment of your condition is to schedule a consultation to determine if weight loss surgery may be an option for you.
Causes and health threat of morbid obesity
The reasons for obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown that in many cases a significant, underlying cause of morbid obesity is genetic. Studies have demonstrated that once the problem is established, efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief.
Science continues to search for answers. But until the disease is better understood, the control of excess weight is something patients must work at for their entire lives. That is why it is very important to understand that all current medical interventions, including weight loss surgery, should not be considered medical cures. Rather, they are attempts to reduce the effects of excessive weight and alleviate the serious physical, emotional and social consequences of the disease.
The underlying causes of severe obesity are not yet known. There are many factors that contribute to the development of obesity including genetic, hereditary, environmental, metabolic and eating disorders.
Obesity-related health conditions
Obesity-related health conditions are health conditions that, whether alone or in combination, can significantly reduce your life expectancy. A partial list of some of the more common conditions follows: (Your doctor can provide you with a more detailed and complete list.)
Bariatric surgery is designed for those with a body mass index equal to or greater than 40, or equal to or greater than 35 with serious co-morbidities.