Weight Loss Surgery in North Dakota

July 4, 2009 · Filed Under Weight Loss Surgery · Comment 

Obesity is epidemic here in North Dakota. Across our state, the number of overweight and obese individuals is rapidly increasing. In the Peace Garden State alone some 60% of the population is overweight or obese – and among North Dakota’s American Indian communities, obesity prevalence is even higher.

This epidemic is costing us more than just our health – it’s costing us big money. According to recent data from the U.S. Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the cost per taxpayer for obesity-related expenditures in North Dakota amounts to over $220 annually.

And of course the costs of obesity are not limited to dollars and cents. Obesity costs lives: of preventable diseases, only smoking kills more of us in the United States. It may also lead to other life-threatening illnesses, called co-morbidities, like heart disease, hypertension, and most commonly, Type 2 diabetes. 

North Dakota’s Weight Problem

Obesity is a disease, with the primary symptom being that a person’s weight is significantly above what is medically considered a healthy norm. A healthy weight is determined in terms of individual body mass index (BMI). BMI equals one’s weight in pounds multiplied by 703, then divided by one’s height in inches, squared. If a person has a BMI of more than 30, he or she is considered medically obese.

Changing one’s BMI can be difficult. Some people try to lose excess weight by means of drugstore-paperback-type diets, infomercial exercise programs, or quack weight-loss pills. The truth is, many people do lose significant amounts weight this way – for a time. The vast majority not only quickly regain those extra pounds, but because they have messed up their metabolism, they end up heavier than they were to start.

The only way to successfully treat the disease of obesity is through medical care, based upon a complete change in lifestyle and eating habits. For most, a medically-supervised weight loss program is the ideal means by which to accomplish this. However, weight loss surgery is an option for those who cannot lose sufficient weight though standard diet and exercise programs. Bariatric surgery has been proven to help resolve obesity-related health problems for individuals who are not amenable to other forms of treatment. It can also help patients to reach their ideal weight and lessen their chances of developing weight-related health problems in the future.

The three main types of weight loss surgery are malabsorptive, restrictive, and combination. All work by surgically altering the patient’s digestive tract in a manner which makes overconsumption of food physically impossible. This allows a patient to lose a large amount of weight in a relatively short time-frame, which for many people can mean the difference between life and death. However, each form of surgery exposes the patient to different risks, including the possibility of major postoperative complications, such as anemia, ulcers, internal hernias, calcium deficiencies, and gallstones.

And, weight loss surgery is not a cure-all, nor is it an option to be undertaken lightly. Patients unwilling to effect a complete change in lifestyle or follow postoperative instructions may regain any weight they lose. Those considering obesity surgery should consult with their primary care physician to discuss the different treatment options, as well as the risks and possible outcomes of any bariatric procedure.

We Can Win

North Dakota is a great state, but we North Dakotans must face this crisis if it’s going to stay that way. We can overcome the problems caused by widespread obesity in our great state — by working together.

Weight loss surgery in North Dakota is a growing trend, since 60% of the state population is overweight or obese. Visit online website for Bariatric Surgery .