Some diseases and health problems, like tumors or blood clots, lurk below the surface, but obesity isn’t one of them. While obesity’s effects — like diabetes, high cholesterol and heart problems — can be detrimental, a new study shows that it is woefully undertreated.
Obesity isn’t a difficult diagnosis, so why are so many doctors hesitant to intervene?
“My takeaway from this study,” Dr. Dirk says,” is that many family practice physicians, primary caregivers and even specialists do not fully understand obesity as a medical condition and do not understand how prescription medications are different from weight loss surgery procedures.”
Of the 1500 doctors surveyed in the study, only 13 percent said they referred patients for bariatric surgery.
This is a problem because bariatric surgery can be a cure not only for obesity, but for all the health problems that come with it. Many patients see heart problems, diabetes and joint pain disappear after weight loss surgery.
The study concluded that doctors need more education to realize the impact obesity can have — and the impact they can have if they treat patients for it the same as they would any other disease or health problem.
The word that comes up the most in the article linked above is “frustrated.” Doctors are frustrated when patients have trouble following nutrition plans or gain weight back. It’s also frustrating for both the patient and the doctor to have to deal with insurance companies, the majority of which won’t cover obesity surgery or treatment at all.
“Don’t let your doctor or insurance company keep you from the treatment you deserve,” Dr. Dirk says. “If you need obesity surgery, my office staff and I can help you get there.”