Experts say weight loss surgery could be key in treating chronic diseases

Meaghen Burns, who is 34 years old, had the procedure in 2017. She was 291 pounds, had high blood pressure and her A1C was nearly 13. (WBNS)
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Bariatric surgery — a weight loss technique — used to be regarded as a way to lose weight by celebrities and the wealthy.

Medical experts say the procedure could now be key to treating chronic diseases including hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

Meaghen Burns, who is 34 years old, had the procedure in 2017. She was 291 pounds, had high blood pressure and her A1C was nearly 13.

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Burns said those conditions went away after bariatric surgery.

“I did it to be a healthier mom, a healthier woman and to have a better chance at life,” she said.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center surgeon Stacy Brethauer said it is time to reconsider how we look at obesity.

“By the time they get to my office for bariatric surgery, they've been thinking about for years — they've debated it,” Dr. Brethauer said. “Our message is that what we do is very safe, it's very effective in terms of managing weight long term and putting into remission all of these other chronic conditions.”

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has new standards for who qualifies. including a lower Body Mass Index or BMI of 30 to 35 with poorly-controlled diabetes.

Dr. Brethauer, who is a senior past president of the society that helped create the new guidelines said, “There's been a lot of data and randomized trials over the last decade that has sort of come together and these guidelines have been formed really to expand the indications.”