Obesity is a complex condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s health, quality of life and finances. For many people struggling with obesity, weight loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) can be a life-changing solution. In fact, the cost of not getting weight loss surgery can be high.
“Not only is bariatric surgery helpful in raising a patient’s quality of life, but it can actually save them money in the long run,” says Dr. Samer Mattar, a bariatric surgeon at the Weight Loss and Metabolic Center at Baylor Medicine. “The cost of not getting weight loss surgery can really add up.”
One of the most significant costs of not getting weight loss surgery is the increased need for medications. Obesity is associated with several chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, which require ongoing medication management. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals who underwent bariatric surgery were able to reduce their medication use significantly. In contrast, those who did not have the surgery saw an increase in the number of medications they needed to manage their health conditions.
Increased medical care
The cost of not getting weight loss surgery includes an increased need for medical care. Individuals with obesity are more likely to require frequent doctor visits, hospitalizations and emergency room visits, which can be costly and time-consuming. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that bariatric surgery can significantly reduce healthcare costs for individuals with obesity over time.
Obesity has a significant impact on an individual’s work life. Studies have shown that individuals with obesity are more likely to miss work due to illness or injury, which can result in lost wages and decreased productivity. Additionally, the cost of medical care and prescription medications can add up quickly, which can create a financial burden for individuals and their families.
Poor sleep quality is another significant cost of not getting weight loss surgery. Obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea, which can lead to chronic fatigue, poor concentration and decreased productivity. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that weight loss surgery can improve sleep quality in individuals with sleep apnea and reduce the need for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
Poor mental health
Obesity takes a toll on an individual’s emotional health. Studies have shown that individuals with obesity are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Additionally, the stigma associated with obesity can lead to social isolation and decreased quality of life.
The cost of not getting weight loss surgery can be significant and impact many areas of an individual’s life. From increased medication use and missed work time to poor sleep quality and emotional health, obesity can have a profound effect on an individual’s overall well-being. If you are struggling with obesity, it is essential to discuss all of your options with your healthcare provider to determine if weight loss surgery is right for you.
By Tiffany Harston, communications associate with the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery