Friday, April 24, 2015

Should More Patients be Eligible for Weight Loss Surgery?

In an article recently published by General Surgery News, several doctors put forward the idea that bariatric surgery could benefit patients with a BMI below 35 just as it does for patients whose BMI exceeds that threshold. Current standards say that only patients with a BMI over 35 are eligible for weight loss surgery in Los Angeles, but after studying cases in which people with a BMI below 35 had a procedure, it was found that the benefits for them were great as well.

While the results just from patients of Dr. Feiz & Associates are not big enough sample to wholeheartedly support this change, what is clear is that the risks associated with bariatric surgery are much lower than many people used to think. One of the reasons for this past threshold was that the procedures were perceived as risky, so they would only be performed when a patient’s obesity was detrimentally affecting their health. Now that we know bariatric surgery is as safe as common procedures like an appendectomy, this concern merits revisiting. For now, though, if you have a BMI over 35 and believe you can benefit from bariatric surgery, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Power of Fame

It was, of course, good to hear Chris Christie tell Matt Lauer of "The Today Show" that his decision to take advantage of bariatric surgery has turned out well for him. We're happy, of course, not only for the health of this very likely presidential contender, but because his example will help many other individuals struggling with severe obesity to take the plunge and learn more about their weight loss options.

Of course, some might say that famous people -- whether they are actors, musicians or politicians -- hold too much sway over the popular mind. After all, why is Chris Christie's success with his lap band or Rosie O'Donnell's good fortune with her gastric sleeve any more important than the results enjoyed by countless men and women around the world?

Regardless, at Dr. Feiz & Associates, we believe that anything that gets people's attention on their health and happiness is a net positive. So, we're always delighted when anyone well known decides to go public with their procedure. Of course, while a weight loss surgery in Los Angeles or anywhere else is of huge help for a great many people, it's not for everyone. If you'd like to learn more, give us a call at 310-855-8058 to find out more about one of our free informational seminars.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Science of Hunger

If you're a veteran of traditional weight loss courses, you've probably encountered the efforts to help overweight people distinguish between a psychological craving and actual hunger. Still, more and more the evidence we're seeing here at Dr. Feiz & Associates is pointing to the very strong likelihood that, especially for severely obese people, the distinctions between these feelings may, very often, be close to meaningless.

An extreme example of what we're talking is exemplified in the case of 13 year-old Alexis Shapiro. Recent news stories have told of the the success of bariatric surgery in treating obesity caused by uncontrollable bouts of hunger. As a 9 year-old, young Alexis had a brain tumor removed. Unfortunately, along with the tumor, doctors also had to remove the brain's hypothalamus, which largely controls the body's appetite and metabolism. The result was a rare condition, hypothalamic obesity, caused by the girl's suddenly uncontrolled appetite.

This syndrome is an extreme example of how powerful the brain is in terms of creating the feeling of hunger, a drive which really can be all but uncontrollable...even if we know intellectually that we've had enough to eat. Indeed, while hypothalmic obesity is rare, it appears that nearly everyone who loses any weight deals with an increase in the production of certain hormones, most notably ghrelin, that tell the brain we're hungry and create a feeling all but identical to actual need-driven hunger. This may be be a major reason why it is so difficult to lose weight and to keep that weight off over the long term.

As we've mentioned many times before, this hormonal link may be a significant reason that a sleeve gastrectomy may be especially effective for many patients.That particular surgery removes a large portion of the stomach, including a section, the fundus, believed to be responsible for the production of ghrelin. All in all, it's a sign that we should be spending a lot less time shaming people with weight problems for gluttony and a lot more time examining the role of the brain and hormones in driving overeating.

In the meantime, if you or a loved one is dealing with severe obesity sustained by persistent feelings of hunger, it might well be time to consider weight loss surgery in Los Angeles or one of our other Southern California offices.