This June, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease. Dr. Dana Trippi of Premier Physicians Weight Loss and Wellness thinks this dramatic designation is an important step in recognizing the critical part weight control plays in a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Trippi is board certified in bariatrics, the branch of medicine that deals with the treatment of obesity. She’s been cited in her specialty as a “Top Doctor” in 2011 and 2013 and has years of experience helping her patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
“People come to us because they feel a loss of control about weight and they’re simply tired of buying larger clothing. They’ve tried other diets and weight-loss programs. The first thing we do is a complete physical and an interview to find out what’s causing weight gain. Then, we discuss realistic goals and talk about the barriers we’ve identified,” said Dr. Trippi. “An enormous part of what we do is education and motivation. The other part is equipping each person with the individualized tools they need to be successful in losing weight and in maintaining their target weight.”
Of course, in a city like Las Vegas, appearance is also a big factor in the desire to stay trim. Doing so can even be a matter of job security in many cases. It’s likewise true that being overweight is more uncomfortable in warm climates. Health concerns, though, are paramount. According to Dr. Trippi, patients can expect a measurable improvement in overall health with a loss of just 5 to10 percent of their initial body weight.
However, the disease designation of obesity helps everyone to understand that being overweight is not a problem to be solved, but a lifelong challenge to be managed. Premier specializes in developing realistic and customized weight control plans for each patient. As a medical facility staffed by accredited physicians, Premier is able to do health screenings, such as EKGs and blood tests, which may identify correctable conditions that lead to obesity. The clinic offers nutrition counseling and behavior modification strategies, critical in today’s convenience and fast food-oriented environment. When appropriate, physicians can prescribe appetite suppressants and other helpful pharmacological aids to weight loss. Most importantly, scheduled weigh-ins motivate patients to stay on track and enable staff to determine what additional support is necessary.
Sometimes, losing weight can result in dramatic improvement in serious medical conditions. Alana Mercer, a physician’s assistant at Premier, talks about a patient with a diagnosis of intracranial hypertension; a condition that creates increased pressure on optic nerves. The patient was suffering devastating headaches, elevated cholesterol and had been hospitalized several times. More worrisome, this condition left unchecked can lead to blindness. Until she came to Premier, no one had mentioned that being overweight is a major risk factor for her disease. Working with Premier, this patient has lost over 50 pounds, now has normal cholesterol and her eye damage has repaired itself.
For most people, though, looking and feeling great are enough of a reward for weight loss. The AMA designation will encourage doctors to talk to their patients about the dangers of being overweight. The next step is up to the individual. With Premier Physicians Weight Loss and Wellness, anyone can find the psychological and medical support they need to sustain a healthy lifestyle.