Weight Loss Medication Can Provide Extra Boost to Shed Pounds

Lifestyle changes still vital to make weight loss long-term success

Gupta HSDAYTON, Ohio (December 21, 2015) – Obesity is one of the top health concerns in our country and when it co-exists with other diseases the health threats to an individual increase several fold, according to the National Institutes of Health Off Site Icon (NIH).

This is why losing weight for many Americans can be an incredible step forward to better health. It can reduce the risk of or even reverse certain disease processes such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, hypertension, dyslipidemia, stroke, sleep apnea, gout and osteoarthritis. Losing weight, however, is easier said than done for many individuals, says Chandra Gupta, MD, a family physician with Monroe Medical Center.

“Obesity is often the main issue to tackle when we see many health issues that individuals are facing,” says Dr. Gupta, who practices within Premier HealthNet. “Eating healthy and increasing physical activity are the most important aspects to losing weight, but when these steps are not providing the results that are needed then weight-loss medications are a good next step.”

Several different types of weight loss medication have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many of these drugs must be prescribed by a physician; however, some may be purchased over the counter. The purpose of these drugs is to help those who need to lose a significant amount of weight to control or reduce the risk for certain comorbidities. They should not be used by those who need to lose a couple of pounds for cosmetic purposes, Dr. Gupta says.

“Weight loss is a topic that is very dear to my heart because I believe that many of our health struggles could be alleviated by controlling weight,” she says. “I have prescribed weight loss medications to some of my patients and we have seen it give them the extra support they needed to get to a healthy weight.”

Ideal candidates for weight loss medications are those who have a body mass index (BMI) between 27 and 29 with the existence of other comorbidities. These individuals will have tried to lose weight through lifestyle modifications but have not experienced success. Weight loss medications are also a good option for individuals who are considering weight loss surgery, but would like to try losing weight on their own first, Dr. Gupta says.

Each weight loss medication works in a different way. Some block fat from being absorbed into the intestinal system, others decrease a person’s appetite, and there are some that help increase a person’s energy levels to motivate them to exercise. A person must work closely with their physician to determine which medication is right for them and also receive counseling on possible side effects, she says.

Those who are considering weight loss medications or are currently using them can benefit from keeping these points in mind:

Set realistic expectations – Talk to your doctor about what your ideal weight goal should be and understand that it won’t be to get back to the size you were in high school, Dr. Gupta says. A healthy weight loss is to drop five to 10 percent below your starting body weight. This modest weight loss has proven helpful in controlling diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Success comes in small steps – A sign of success is a five pound weight loss in 12 weeks. It’s important to understand that weight loss is gradual despite what is conveyed on popular reality shows where individuals lose that amount of weight in one week.

Medication is just a tool – Weight loss medication is only one part of an overall weight loss strategy. You will still have to make significant changes in lifestyle, including a healthy diet and moderate exercise program. Most weight loss medications can be taken for up to four years, but once that time period is over, it is important that lifestyle changes are in place to help maintain the weight loss.

Weight loss requires partnerships – A strong relationship with your doctor who prescribes the medication is helpful. Make it a priority to make the ongoing appointments that will help track your success. Your doctor may decide to try a different medication if the one you are on isn’t providing the desired results. It’s also important to make sure the medication is not creating any unwanted side effects, Dr. Gupta says.

For more information on weight loss medications or to find a Premier HealthNet physician near you, visit www.premierhealthnet.com/doctor

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