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Extra pounds on the scale can carry more than just risks to self-image. They can impact health and quality of life. Fighting obesity can seem like an impossible battle.

“Obesity is a medical condition, just like high blood pressure and diabetes,” says Dr. Hamilton S. Le, medical director of INTEGRIS Weight Loss Center in Oklahoma City.

If you are more than 100 pounds overweight – or more than 30 pounds overweight and struggling with conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or high cholesterol – bariatric surgery may be a viable option for beneficial weight loss.

“Surgery is one treatment option and should be viewed as a tool to assist patients [needing to] reset their metabolism and get to a healthier weight,” says Le.

Bariatric surgery (including gastric bypass) can offer such benefits as weight loss, improved quality of life and improvement of certain medical conditions, says Le. However, as with any surgery, there are risks. When considering bariatric surgery, find an experienced and certified surgeon who addresses a comprehensive weight loss approach.

Le also recommends having a supportive family member or friend attend appointments to help keep track of important information. Le also advises visiting a support group to meet postoperative patients.

“Education is vital to prepare for the lifestyle changes after surgery,” says Le. “Long-term success will be up to the individual who follows up with their doctor, maintains healthy dietary choices and makes physical activity a daily routine.”

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