There’s So Much Hype About The New Weight-Loss Medications. Are They Really Game-Changers? How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose, And Will I Need To Be On These Medications Forever?
These new medications are different in that they focus on regulating insulin. We’re seeing patients experience significant weight loss. So yes, I think they can be a game-changer for some. Basically, the standard measure for obesity is BMI (Body Mass Index). Anything over 30 is considered obese. On average, one BMI point equals five pounds. Typically, these medications can achieve a total weight loss of 30 to 40 pounds, so for those with higher BMIs (38 and above), you might not get down to what we would consider a healthy BMI through medications alone.
Some People Have Shared That Once They Stopped Taking Medications, The Weight Came Back. Is That Common?
Unfortunately, that’s a common occurrence. While effective in the short term, these medications may not be the best long term solution for everyone. Adjusting your lifestyle (eating, exercise) can help you keep weight off. However, many people find that to be very challenging. For those patients, we will discuss other options. Obesity is a medical condition and there are basically three ways to deal with any medical condition — lifestyle changes, medication, or procedures. Ultimately, we want patients to feel comfortable and confident in whatever way they choose to continue their weight-loss journey.
How Can Weight Loss Affect My Health?
My patients are seeing improved overall health, reduced medication use, and increased life expectancy. But beyond that they’re experiencing improved quality of life, improved relationships, improved job performance, more confidence, and a whole new outlook on living. I wish I had a nickel for every time a patient told me, ‘I should have done this years ago.’
How Do I Know If I’m A Good Candidate For Weight-Loss Surgery?
The list of obesity-related medical conditions is long — headaches, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, sleep apnea, heart disease, and more. If obesity is contributing to other health conditions, it’s time to be more aggressive about losing weight. Patients ask me, ‘What are the risks of weight-loss surgery?.’ But a better question may be, ‘What are the risks of obesity?.’ Strong data shows that weight-loss surgery is no more dangerous than gallbladder removal. If your health is at risk because of obesity, you’re a good candidate for weight-loss surgery.
How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose?
The short answer is as much as you want to lose, as long we pick the right option. Average weight loss with medication is 30-40 pounds. Average weight loss with sleeve gastrectomy is 75 to 100 pounds. After a bypass, it’s 100 to 120 and after a duodenal switch, 200 or more. Our biggest battle right now is getting the insurance companies to pay for these life-saving options. Don’t be afraid to demand insurance coverage for a procedure that could save your life.
About The Expert
Folahan Ayoola, MD
Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas
A graduate of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Folahan Ayoola is board certified and fellowship trained. His patients praise him for his no-blame, no-shame, compassionate care and the one-on-one attention they receive. He’s frequently called upon to train other physicians in his field about advanced robotic weight-loss surgery.