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Bariatric Surgery Underused tool for the prevention of severe obesity



Bariatric surgery helps greatly overweight people. The surgery can help them lose weight and get well again.

Doctors remove part of the stomach so the patient is forced to eat less. It's a tough, life-changing operation. However, some physicians believe that this should be done more often before patients become severely overweight .

Shaun Rogers spent more than 20 years struggling to control his weight while battling diabetes.

just diet and go on … with insulin I would never lose the amount of weight I needed to change … and bring the diabetes under really good control, "he said ,

Diabetes patients take insulin to get blood sugar or glucose in their cells. Insulin can make people feel hungry and make it even harder to lose weight.

Costly Treatment

Bariatric surgery is costly. In the US, insurance companies do not always pay for the operation. The body mass index (BMI) of a patient must be at least 35, even if a patient's diabetes can not be controlled. BMI is the measure of body fat based on the size and weight of the person. Stacy Brethauer is a surgeon at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. He says the BMI number does not always show how a patient reacts to the treatment of diabetes.

"The BMI is not really fair … portraying who should receive therapy ," he said. Brethauer added that the rules for bariatric surgery needed to be changed.

"When a patient is not undergoing surgery, we know very well that his illness is progressing and his life is shortened if he does not receive an effective treatment," he said.

The American Medical Association refers to obesity as a complex, chronic disease that requires medical attention. If left untreated, obesity can lead to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Brethauer believes that early treatment is required for both obesity and diabetes.

Double standard?

"Nobody asks anyone with cancer or heart disease to just do it themselves …" but there is also an effective therapy at the same time he is offered to these patients, "he said.

Since being operated on to shrink his stomach, Shaun Rogers has lost a lot of weight. His diabetes is also under control. Rogers does not need oral medicines anymore. And he has reduced the insulin consumption from nearly 500 units per day to about 1

0.

"It has changed my life so much," he said, "I would tell everyone that. "

Diabetes is a worldwide health problem. More than 400 million people have the disease. This number is one in eleven adults. The World Health Organization estimates that this number will increase sharply in the near future.

When people with diabetes undergo bariatric surgery early, their diabetes can be cured. For those who have had the disease for 10 years or more and need insulin, a bariatric surgery will not cure their diabetes. But as Stacy Brethauer notes, this can significantly improve her health.

I am Susan Shand.

Carol Pearson of VOA reported on this story. Susan Shand has adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the publisher.

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Words in this story

Stomach – n . the organ in your body into which the food gets and which is digested after swallowing

obese – n. very fat: fat in an unhealthy manner

insulin [19659027] – n. A substance that your body makes and uses to convert sugar into energy.

Height – No. a measure of how tall a person or an object is

Therapy – n. the treatment of physical or mental Diseases

chronic adj. To persist or to reoccur for a long time

orally adj. by mouth

Unit n. a standard measurement


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