8 Facts that Seniors Need to Know about Gastric Bypass Surgery

More seniors are turning to gastric bypass surgery as a way to lose weight when saddled with obesity. Being excessively overweight can lead to poor circulation, joint problems, depression and much more. And recently, researchers are learning that weight loss surgery is both safe and effective at helping older adults lose lots of unwanted weight. But how safe is it, and who should consider gastric bypass rather than traditional means of losing weight? If you're among the scores of overweight people who are thinking about gastric bypass, then you'll want to make sure that undergoing weight loss surgery is truly in your best interests. Read on for eight facts that seniors need to know about gastric bypass surgery.

Do insurance companies cover bariatric surgery?

More insurance companies are starting to pay for gastric bypass surgery. This is a new development, but insurers are realizing that it's cheaper to pay for the surgery than the long-term costs associated with chronic obesity.

How does gastric bypass help seniors live better?

Gastric bypass relieves a number of health conditions simply by undoing he stress that obesity puts on the body. Losing lots of weight can correct hypertension, sleep apnea, joint pain and more.

How much weight can seniors lose?

The results of gastric bypass vary from person to person. A 68-year-old senior in the recent study weighed more than 400 pounds at the time of her surgery. Within a year and a half, she'd dropped nearly 150 pounds. While that kind of result is unusual, it shows the possibilities of successful weight loss surgery.

Is weight loss surgery worth the risk?

As noted earlier, seniors who undergo weight loss surgery don't appear to face more serious risks than those who go through other mainstream surgical procedures. In the meantime, these surgeries can reduce the grave risks of other health conditions that are exacerbated by obesity.

When should seniors consider bariatric surgery?

Weight loss surgery should never be viewed as a first resort. People who are overweight should commit to diet and exercise and attempt to develop healthy lifestyle habits. Even after bariatric surgery, seniors must adhere to healthy diets to maintain the procedure's benefits. It's also worth remembering that recovering from gastric bypass can be hard on some seniors. If you're a senior who is thinking about weight loss surgery, then talk to your doctor to learn whether this option if best for your needs.

Does Medicare cover weight loss surgery for seniors?

Medicare typically doesn't cover gastric bypass surgery -- at least, not yet. Seniors in some places can get coverage from Medicare, but coverage is far from uniform.

Why should we care about gastric bypass for the elderly?

Until now, obesity has been more of a problem among young- and middle-aged adults. However, obesity rates among seniors are rising. The Journal of the American Geriatric Society estimated that obesity in adults ages 60 and older jumped from 32 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2010, and the number has only grown since then. This is why more seniors are starting to think about gastric bypass.

What does recent research say about gastric bypass for seniors?

The recent research is favorable toward gastric bypass surgery as an option for the elderly. The University of South Florida and the University of Miami recently teamed up to study 27 seniors who'd underwent the procedure. These seniors went on to live better, healthier lives with the same rate of mortality and complications as those who'd undergone hip replacements and other common procedures.

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