Thursday, October 27, 2011

Weight Loss on the Health Train Express

 

According to the California Health Care Foundation which publishes California Healthline,

The number of weight-loss surgeries performed at California hospitals increased by nearly 7% from 2005 to 2009, but deaths associated with the procedure have remained relatively low, according to a report by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.

OSHPD examined five types of weight-loss -- or bariatric -- surgery, the safety of the procedures and the number of surgeries carried out at hospitals (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/26).

The report found that 94 hospitals in the state performed weight-loss surgeries in 2009.

Hospitals performed 13,500 procedures that year, up by 6.8% since 2005, the report found.

Mortality rates associated with the procedures remained low, according to the data. Between 2005 and 2009, 40 patients died in surgery and 79 died within 30 days of surgery.

Researchers found that the lowest-risk surgery was laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding -- or Lap-Band surgery -- which involves inserting an inflatable ring at the top of the stomach.

The highest-risk procedure was biliopancreatic diversion, which involves bypassing the small intestine and removing part of the stomach. This procedure usually is used for morbidly obese patients who have not had success with other surgeries, according to state officials.

Rather than becoming an elective surgery it is now on the list of acceptable alternative treatment methods for morbid obesity

Public health proponents and scientific data corroborate higher rates of breast cancer, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, hip disease, and other chronic diseases which increase the financial burden on health plans, medicare and private insurers. Insurers are now much more likely to pay for these procedures if less drastic measures such as exercise (often very difficult for morbidly obese patients) and nutritional modification.  The lap band procedure gives the patient satiety after only eating a small amount of food.

Faced with increasing medical expenses the elimination of treatable disease with proactive preventive measures such as weight loss, control of hyperlipidemia, and consumption of highly processed food becomes essential as the population ages.

Present projections of ‘bankruptcy of the Medicare system’ do not factor in improved general health and wellness, and lower incidences of these chronic ailments. The projections also do not factor in upcoming radical advances in chemotherapy, immune diseases, nor the possibility of an early detection and/or treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (TEDMED presentation, 2010 David Kamen)

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