If you’ve been struggling to lose weight and keep it off, you may be considering medical treatments such as bariatric surgery or something less invasive, such as weight loss pills. But when is it better to opt for one or the other? More specifically, based on BMI, when is surgery better than weight loss pills?
Based on BMI When is Surgery Better Than Weight Loss Pills?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool used for assessing body weight in relation to height. It’s a valuable screening tool to categorize individuals into different weight categories and provide a general indication of their overall body composition. Overall, understanding BMI is a simple way to be aware of your body weight and stay healthy.
It’s important to note that BMI is not a diagnostic tool, but using it can help individuals evaluate their health and determine if they need to make any lifestyle changes. Weightlifters, for example, can have very high BMI numbers because muscles can tip the scales. Arnold Schwarzeneggar in his prime had a BMI of 31, and it would be hard to describe him as “overweight.”
Those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered healthy, while a score between 25 and 29.9 indicates that you’re overweight but not obese. Anyone who has a BMI of 30 or higher qualifies as obese. In the past, bariatric surgery patients needed to have a BMI of 35 or higher, exhibit comorbidities caused by their weight, and the failure of other avenues of weight loss.
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) recently revised their guidelines on bariatric surgery and BMI. They now recommend the surgery for individuals with a BMI of 35 or more, regardless of other obesity-related conditions.
They also suggest that it be considered for people with a BMI of 30-34.9 along with certain metabolic disease or comorbidities. Additionally, children and adolescents can undergo the surgery if appropriately selected. These changes reflect a new focus on the health benefits of the surgery, rather than just a tool for weight loss.
So let’s start with a BMI of 30 when we try to figure out when weight loss surgery is better than weight loss pills to lose excess weight. We would also like to say that any weight loss program, whether surgery or medication, needs to be joined by a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
When is Weight Loss Surgery Better Than Weight Loss Pills?
Surgery is now recommended for those with a BMI of over 35, regardless if there are health issues or not. And we already discussed that a BMI between 30-34.9 also qualifies you for bariatric procedures if other specific conditions are met. In these cases, weight-loss surgery is best because it has proven to be the best way to lose weight and keep it off in the long term.
But surgery is not based solely on BMI. Candidates for weight loss should meet with their bariatric surgeon or health care provider for an initial consultation to see if they are a good candidate for a procedure. Weight loss surgery is a serious medical procedure that requires a lot of effort and commitment from patients.
That being said, bariatric procedures such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass are proven to be the best way to lose massive amounts of excess weight and keep that weight off. Because of the physical changes to the body, you’ll feel fewer hunger pangs and get fuller faster. Along with regular exercise and a healthy diet, patients can lose up to 70% of their excess weight.
On the other hand, FDA-approved prescription weight loss medications may help you lose 10 percent of your total body weight, not the excess body weight. So if you have excessive amounts of weight to lose, pills will probably not be the solution you’re looking for.
Weight loss surgery can also help treat several health-related issues, like type-2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and heart disease.It’s not just a quick fix, however, and a long-term commitment to making significant lifestyle changes are needed.
This includes modifying one’s diet and engaging in regular exercise. However, for those who are unable or unwilling to make these changes, surgeons may not recommend the procedure. It’s important to understand that weight loss surgery is not a magic solution, but rather a tool to help patients achieve their weight loss goals.
When it comes to certain medical conditions, patients may not be cleared for surgery due to high risk factors. These conditions include severe heart diseases, uncontrolled hypertension, untreated psychiatric conditions, and active cancer. However, patients seeking weight loss surgeries face additional requirements.
They are expected to show they have attempted non-surgical weight-loss methods, such as diet and exercise with no successful outcome. This requirement is crucial, as it ensures that the patient has demonstrated the level of commitment necessary for weight loss surgery. Although the requirements may seem intimidating, following them will ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.
When is Medication Better Than Surgery?
Weight loss drugs may be a helpful option for individuals who are seeking to lose weight but have a lower BMI or less severe weight-related health conditions. Usually, weight loss medications work for individuals whose BMI is between 25 and 30, as well as those with less severe weight-related health problems.
Weight loss pills may be advised for patients that need a non-invasive form of weight loss or aren’t emotionally ready for surgery. Weight loss pills may be safer for individuals who are averse to potential complications of a surgical procedure. Weight loss pills may be more suitable for some individuals with specific health conditions or those on medicines that could pose risks during surgery.
The decision to pursue either surgery or pills should be made with the help of a doctor, as they can advise which option is best for your particular situation and health profile. Ultimately, both procedures have been proven to work in specific situations. Bariatric surgery is best for those who need a long-term solution for weight loss while pills may work for some in the short term.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a bariatric specialist, who can evaluate your specific situation, medical history, and weight loss goals. They will be able to provide personalized advice and guidance regarding the most suitable approach for weight loss, whether it be weight loss surgery, weight loss pills, or a combination of different strategies tailored to your needs.