Surgical weight loss information session

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Matthew Sharbaugh, DO, bariatric surgeon was in to talk about the upcoming Surgical Weight Loss information session.

Q: It's the time of year people start thinking about losing weight. But…is this really an upward trend? Are Maine people getting heavier?

A: Yes, we are getting heavier as a state. Nearly one-third of adults in Maine are clinically obese. This is very different from 20 years ago, when our rate was at about 10-15% obesity. So in just 20 years, it's more than doubled. It is a health concern that needs to be addressed.

Q: Why is maintaining a healthy weight important?

A: By maintaining a healthy weight, you have more energy, feel better, sleep better, and have fewer health issues associated with obesity. Our patients who reach and maintain a healthy weight go off many medications for conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and are at a lower risk for cancer. Patients who reach and maintain a healthy weight feel hopeful and are able to keep up with their children and grandchildren, and they have the energy to do all the things they've been putting off.

Q: What would you tell people who have tried everything, including diet and exercise, and it's not helping?

A: We know many people struggle with their weight, and it can be discouraging. There are metabolic reasons why some people can't lose weight on their own. This is why our comprehensive program helps patients with more than just weight loss surgery, we also offer nutrition, education, and support.

Q: Where can you learn more?

A: We don't think anyone should consider weight loss surgery lightly. That's why we are offering a free information session on Friday, January 10 in Bangor, so community members can learn all about our program. If you carry excess weight year in and year out, you may be facing the reality of needing to lose 75 to 100 or more pounds to achieve a healthy weight. If so, you might be a good candidate to learn more about our program.

Q: What will you learn at this session?

A: We'll discuss the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery; the three kinds of procedures we offer—gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric band; the behavioral changes needed, including nutritional information, activity levels, and support groups. We'll explain the preventive health screenings you'll need to update, how to get a referral, and what to expect throughout the process. This session on January 10 is free and open to anyone who is interested in learning more.

Q: Do you need to register?

A: Yes, please call us to register for the info session this Friday, January 10 at 973-6383. To learn more about the program, visit northernlighthealth.org/SWL.