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Weighing in on Health

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NEW ALBANY Diet and weight loss strategies are a ubiquitous part of American culture these days. While much of the media focus is on cosmetic outcomes, the underlying medical conditions and co-morbidities are wreaking havoc on our health.

The Floyd Memorial Weight Management and Bariatrics Center is designed to provide comprehensive, safe, physician-supervised weight loss options to optimize an individual’s health. “Weight loss from our perspective is not a cosmetic thing. We’re trying to make people healthy,” says Vasdev Lohano, MD, medical director of the center. “We know that weight is a very important factor in cardio-metabolic issues. Addressing the weight in a healthy way will help those chronic cardiovascular risk factors.”

A clinical endocrinologist who has been with Floyd Memorial for seven years and whose main focus is diabetes, Lohano also treats metabolic disorders and thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary issues. He became medical director of the Weight Management and Bariatrics Center on January 1, 2015. Lohano says, “I look forward to collaborating with all the physicians to see what is working, what is not, and where we can improve some of the processes.” His goal is to make the program a “one-stop shop,” where patients can be seen by nurse educators, dieticians, psychiatrists, and physicians to enhance their weight loss experience and improve overall health.

Medically Supervised Weight Management

As the name indicates, the Floyd Memorial Weight Management and Bariatrics Center has two arms – medical and surgical. The medical weight management program is open to anyone who needs to lose a significant amount of weight, and is not specific to diabetes or any medical diagnosis. The first visit with the program coordinator is free. Upon application, the patient is assessed with a medical exam and placed into one of three different groups – high risk, intermediate, or moderate – based on their medical co-morbidities and how much weight they need to lose. The program follows the HMR® (Health Management Resources) meal replacement plan. The number of calories and frequency of follow-up prescribed is based on the group participants are placed in.

The weight management team includes clinical program director Joan Weston, RN, registered dietitian Amy Brown, RD, CES, CDE, a program coordinator, and several health educators. All participants are overseen by a physician throughout the program. Weekly meetings and support groups are crucial for keeping participants on track.

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is another piece in the comprehensive puzzle for people who are obese and suffer from co-morbidities. Patients in this program are usually referred by their primary care physician. Currently the surgical program offers the gastric sleeve, the gastric band, and gastric bypass procedures. Patients undergo psychological screening prior to surgery to ensure they can be successful in losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

The program has two physicians – Lanny Gore, MD, FACS, Floyd Memorial bariatric and board-certified general surgeon, and John S. Oldham, Jr., MD, FACS, FASMBS, board-certified general surgeon with Baptist Surgical Associates, a new addition to the team through a partnership with Baptist Health Louisville.

The Weighty Burden for Women

Women in particular are more likely to be affected by societal pressures to be thin and look a certain way, and they also suffer from metabolic syndromes that affect their ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Age is a factor in the issues women face. “In younger women, the most common condition that affects them is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS),” says Lohano. PCOS is a genetic condition that can cause weight gain and infertility. Lohano contends that losing weight through medical means can help restore reproductive health and minimize the risk of long-term complications.

As women grow older, they tend to experience metabolic disorders leading to cardiovascular complications – dyslipidemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. “Optimizing those through direct management of the disease or through management of weight loss obviously helps all those risk factors that are important to reduce the cardiovascular risk,” says Lohano.

Regardless of the intervention, Lohano says having an endocrine program that goes hand-in-hand with the medical and surgical weight loss programs, and a team of specialized providers, gives patients a comprehensive approach to healthy weight loss.