Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Clinical Management of Obesity Can Compete with Bariatric Surgery

The typical approaches to weight loss and weight management are diet, exercise, medication, lifestyle change and bariatric surgery. And it is assumed by most people that bariatric surgery is more effective than diet, exercise, anti-obesity drugs or lifestyle changes. But a recent study asserts that an intensive clinical management approach to obesity can be as effective as bariatric surgery.

There have been studies that suggest that bariatric surgery consistently leads to weight loss and improved metabolic parameters including better glucose management. For example, One "study comparing 1-year outcomes in obese patients who followed a medical weight-loss program vs others who had bariatric surgery has found that both groups lost weight and had improved levels of HDL cholesterol and other obesity-linked biomarkers but the improvements were greater in those who underwent surgery."

Then again, a recent study suggests that clinical management of obesity can successfully treat the disease under the right circumstances. According to the researchers,  the reasons that clinical management of obesity fails is because of the following reasons: “(1) anti-obesity medications are administered as monotherapies (or pre-combined drugs); (2) lack of combination between pharmacotherapy and non-pharmacological modalities; (3) short duration of pharmacotherapy for obesity; (4) lack of weight-loss maintenance strategies; (5) misunderstanding of the complex pathophysiology of obesity; and (6) underprescription of anti-obesity medications."

The researchers, therefore, set out to resolve the issues just mentioned. The researchers followed a protocol, for example, that included the use of anti-obesity medications in different combinations depending on effectiveness. After using the protocol to resolve some of the clinical management issues, the researchers concluded that "An intensive clinical approach to obesity management can be an effective alternative to bariatric surgery, although further randomized controlled studies are necessary to validate our findings."

Indeed, more research is needed to confirm the findings of the above referenced study. And ways to cost-effectively apply the approaches that the researches used should be found. Bariatric surgery, while relatively safe, is not as safe as many non-surgical approaches to weight loss. Therefore, focusing on the methods used in the intensive clinical-management study could eventually benefit overweight and obese patients.

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