Lose a Little, Gain a Lot

Long-term health benefits of weight loss

Today, obesity is accurately recognized as a disease and the cause of many serious health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, and sleep disorders. And, the severely obese, who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 to 50, shave about 10 years off their lives.

Beyond the lower numbers on the scale, better fitting clothes, and the positive changes you see in the mirror, losing the few extra pounds you’ve been carrying around can deliver big health benefits. Tammy Fouse, DO, general surgeon and fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon at Bingham Memorial’s Weight Loss Center, sheds some light on the long-term health benefits of losing weight.

Big benefits of a little weight loss

A spring in your step. Losing weight lessens the burden on your weight-bearing joints. For example, losing just 10 pounds of excess weight can reduce the pressure on your knees by 40 pounds. Or, if a modest weight loss—such as 20 pounds from a 200-pound frame—was maintained, heart disease, diabetes risk, and cancer risk would be lessened and people could live longer, healthier lives.

An improved mood. People who are overweight are more likely to be socially isolated and to experience depression.

A better night’s sleep. People who are at a healthy weight are less likely to suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

A longer life. Losing weight lowers your risk for several kinds of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Overweight or obese women who sustained a weight loss of 10 percent or more for two years significantly decreased their levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, blood sugar, and inflammation, according to the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Why losing weight matters

Losing weight will help you to avoid chronic health issues. Research completed at Oxford University over 10 to 15 years has shown that obese individuals who weighed about a third more than their counterparts—carrying 50 to 60 extra pounds—were 50 percent more likely to die prematurely; up to four times more likely to die of diabetes, liver or kidney problems; and two-thirds more likely to succumb to heart attack or stroke.

According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity is also associated with increased risks of the following cancer types: esophagus, pancreas, uterus, kidney, thyroid, and gallbladder. Higher BMIs were also linked to a greater risk of liver, colon and rectum, ovarian, and postmenopausal breast cancers.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to weight loss,” says Dr. Fouse. “But, one thing is for sure. By using a nonsurgical or surgical solution to lose weight, the chronic disease processes associated with obesity can be reversed and even avoided.”

You can learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you to live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time and avoid any unnecessary medical complications associated with being overweight.

“Even if an overall weight-loss goal seems overwhelming, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination,” says Dr. Fouse. Whether it’s 20 pounds or 200 standing between you and a healthier life, take a step today to manage your weight, feel better, and live longer.

You’re Not Alone

Dr. Tammy Fouse helps people take the first step on their weight-loss journey. She has seen patients return to a healthy weight so they can finally stop taking high blood pressure medications, put diabetes into remission, and even have a knee or hip replacement they were not able to have before.

If you’ve been on a weight-loss journey for a while and are unhappy with your progress, Bingham Memorial’s Weight Loss Center might be right for you. Dr. Fouse will help you choose a nonsurgical or surgical weight loss solution. She sees patients in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, and Pocatello. Appointments can be scheduled by calling: (208) 782-3993.