Having recognized that obesity constitutes a serious health problem, the need to lose weight has been a priority among obese individuals. Weight loss is not an easy task to achieve especially for the morbidly obese people. A combination of behavioral programs that adjust dietary habits, physical activities and pharmacotherapy and in some cases, surgical intervention is required to achieve and sustain a lasting weight loss.
Why medically supervised weight loss?
Many people have failed to achieve a sustainable weight reduction by doing it alone. In a medically supervised weight loss program, you are expected to get a better result. The physician will assess you and identify any comorbid condition and factors that may work against your goal of losing weight. A lot of obese individuals are unknowingly living with hypertension or diabetes. Many obese individuals are on medications for one disease or the other. Some of these medications can cause weight gain and may need to be substituted with better ones.
When obesity is associated with diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, abnormal blood cholesterol, heartburn, etc., weight loss may require that these disease conditions are continuously re-assessed with necessary adjustments made in regards to their management. For example, a diabetic obese patient may require a lesser amount of insulin/anti-diabetic drugs after losing a reasonable amount of weight as the condition is expected to improve. If the drug dosage is not reduced, he stands a risk of developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with its attendant complications.
With a medically supervised weight loss program, you will be placed on a plan that is peculiar to your condition. You would be provided with a multidisciplinary service from different specialists including a physician, a dietician, a physical therapist, a psychotherapist, nurses, etc. They are to design your weight loss program and also monitor your progress.
The cost of medically supervised weight loss program is determined by the services that would be rendered to you. This would be made known after a thorough assessment. This service is covered by most insurance companies.
Therefore, a medically supervised therapy is the best option as it will not only be directed towards achieving weight loss but also to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, improving quality of life and prolonging survival.
What are the methods/techniques used in medically supervised weight loss?
This program utilizes a combination of dietary changes, exercise, pharmacotherapy and bariatric surgery to achieve weight loss. The best approach would be decided by your physician based on the result of your medical assessment. This must however be reconciled with the approach you preferred. If you are not morbidly obese and not suffering from any of the obesity-associated disease conditions, a combination of dietary adjustment and exercise may be enough to achieve the desired weight reduction. Morbidly obese individuals or those with any comorbid conditions that is life-threatening may require a weight loss surgery in addition to dietary adjustment and exercise.
Dietary modification is the first step in achieving weight loss. This is based on a low calorie and high protein plan. Refined sugars, fat, and carbonated drinks are avoided. The quantity of food is also reduced.
Exercise is an integral part of any weight loss program. Even when surgical intervention is indicated, exercise is required after surgery to achieve optimal weight reduction. A medically supervised weight loss program will recommend and supervise different types of exercise that are appropriate for you.
Many drugs have been used to achieve weight loss. Although their popularity is reducing, some of them still enjoy FDA approval. These include phentermine, orlistat, lorcaserin, liraglutide, bupropion, etc.
Endoscopic Intragastric balloon
This involves the insertion of a balloon device made of silicone into the stomach and subsequently inflating it with water or air. The mechanism of action is by occupying space and reducing the capacity of the stomach. Therefore, they cause early satiety and reduce calorie intake. They are however temporary as they are usually removed after 6 months to avoid complications. Intragastric balloon are used for those who are not fit or not willing to undergo surgery.
This is the last option of achieving a significant weight loss. Although it is an invasive method, it has been shown by many studies to be the most effective method of losing weight and reversing the comorbid conditions. These are broadly divided into restrictive and malabsorptive surgeries. The restrictive surgeries are those that reduce the capacity of the stomach and therefore cause early satiety and reduction in calorie intake. Example of this is the gastric sleeve surgery and the gastric banding. Malabsorptive procedures refashion the intestine so as to reduce nutrient absorption. Procedures such as gastric bypass surgery and duodenal switch are both restrictive and malabsorptive.