Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Always Hard Work

Every day we jump on the Internet we're likely to see news stories about possible weight loss treatments, some of which lay claim to being the kind of "silver bullet" which will finally deal with the scourge of obesity once and for all. Considering that obesity deals with such a complex interaction between the digestive system and the nervous system -- which very much includes our brains, the seat of our thoughts and emotions -- simple solutions are probably never going to happen. Indeed, we are always careful to warn our patients that even weight loss surgery requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of the patient to be effective and healthy in the long run.

Even so, such procedures as the gastric sleeve, the lap band, and gastric bypasses are by far the most effective means medicine has found for dealing with severe obesity. The brain can be fooled in an enormous number of ways, but the digestive tract is, at its base, a machine for dealing with nutrition. Since all of the types of weight loss surgery focus on reducing the amount of food that the stomach can physically handle, it's difficult to imagine a simpler solution to the very complicated problem of obesity.

Of course, no one knows exactly what the future is going to bring, but we're reasonably sure that cures which "work like magic" will be off the table. The interaction between our minds and our bodies when it comes to food are so complex, we think that some real effort on the part of patients will always be involved. Medical science can make it possible to loose large amounts of weight and keep it off, but it ultimately comes down to a series of small, daily decisions on the part of the patient. Still, we'll always be there to provide whatever help and support we can.

Losing weight permanently is probably always going to be hard work, for patients and doctors. The good news is that, every day, we're finding ways to make that effort more manageable.

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