Health Watch

Doctors say weight loss surgery is simply a tool

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Central Valley has become known as a "destination place" for weight loss surgery with a number of well-known surgeons in Fresno.

You would never know now, but busy nurse Kathrine Carr struggled with her weight for most of her life. "I completely understand what it was like to be that heavy person. To have trouble shopping for regular clothes," Carr said.

At 5-foot-7, Kathrine's weight peaked at 252 pounds.

"I tried every diet possible," Carr said.

Five years ago, Carr opted for Bariatric or gastric bypass surgery and her battle with the bulge turned into fighting stereotypes and the first myth about the procedure.

Myth 1- "Probably the biggest one I heard was I was taking the easy way out," Carr said.

Doctor David Podkameni says nothing could be further from the truth.

"You still have to diet. You still have to exercise. It's not going to work by itself," said Dr. David Podkameni a Bariatric Specialist.

Myth 2 - you can't have surgery if you have diabetes. People who undergo bariatric surgery are three - to four-times more likely to have their type 2-diabetes go into remission over those receiving intensive medical treatment alone.

Myth 3 - weight loss surgery will make you lose weight on its own. On average, patients lose about 60-percent of their extra weight.

"Bariatric surgery is just a tool over the whole process," Podkameni said.

Myth 4 - it's all cosmetic.

"It has to do with change in metabolism. It has to do with influencing remission of diabetes, treating sleep apnea, treating high blood pressure, hypertension," Podkameni said.

Myth 5 - weight loss from surgery is permanent. Some weight regain is likely. For Kathrine, it's been 20 pounds. But she's still lost 100 pounds and kept it off.

Gastric bypass surgery helps change metabolism by affecting the hormones that control hunger. After surgery, levels of one of those hormones drop dramatically, so patients don't feel as hungry.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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