The urgency with which innovative new bariatric healthcare practices are needed cannot be underestimated. Estimates indicate that, across the world, over a billion adults are overweight. Of those 1 billion, about a third qualify as obese or morbidly obese, meaning that they are much more likely to suffer negative health effects due to weight than individuals who are merely overweight.
A bariatric healthcare provider’s mission is to correct any health conditions that result from being obese. A visit to the bariatric expert often occurs after other, more conventional treatment methods have failed to produce adequate results. Here are four things a bariatric healthcare provider will focus on when you visit them.
Body Mass Index
The initial goal of a bariatric healthcare provider is to assess the state of your health relative to your weight. The gold standard for determining health risk in terms of obesity is a metric called the body mass index (BMI). Your provider will discuss the simple formula for determining your BMI, which is essentially a calculation using your weight divided by your height.
However, while that may provide a baseline estimate, it’s not a perfect formula. Everyone’s ideal BMI is different, depending on body type and other factors. However, a BMI over 30 is considered obese and is a red flag for future problems.
Chronic Disease Markers
Obesity often goes hand in hand with a number of chronic health conditions that can lower lifespan as well as quality of life. Examples of conditions associated with obesity include heart disease, high cholesterol, impaired immune function (including a greater risk of developing severe infections from pathogens such as COVID-19), and diabetes, among others.
Your bariatric healthcare provider will likely ask questions regarding your medical history. They may also order some tests to determine your risk of these conditions.
Impact on Quality of Life
Responsible bariatric healthcare providers weigh the individual patient’s desires and needs carefully when developing a treatment strategy. You can expect inquiries about how obesity has affected your quality of life, including the performance of everyday tasks, during your initial visit.
Obesity means that some things that were once easy to use, like certain types of furniture, are no longer an option. Your healthcare provider might recommend products from companies that focus on improving the quality of life of bariatric patients, like Joerns Healthcare.
Possible Treatment Strategies
Bariatric surgery, while an effective tool for reducing body fat, is also an invasive medical procedure that presents its own set of risks and considerations. As such, bariatric healthcare providers will usually explore other treatment strategies, exhausting all other options before turning to bariatric surgery.
Don’t be alarmed by the barrage of questions and tests that you might receive when you seek the help of a bariatric professional. The information gained could mean the difference between living a full, healthy, happy life or not.