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Southampton Health Services
Southampton Health Services Guidelines to Weight Management
Obesity is one of the most common medical problems in the United States and it
increases the risk for many other illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis
(hardening of the arteries), heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, and breast, endometrial,
gallbladder, kidney and colon cancer. "Obesity should not be considered a character
weakness, and should not be thought of as a result of being out of control." (Blackburn,
Advanced Studies in Medicine-Johns Hopkins, 1/2002). Rather, it should be treated as a
chronic disease like hypertension and diabetes for which long-term drug treatment may
need to be continued "for years an perhaps a lifetime to improve health and maintain a
healthy weight." (NIHPub #97-419], 12/1996)
Benefits of Weight Loss
Innumerable medical studies have now shown that weight reduction in obese patients and
overweight patients with increased comorbid risks provides significant medical benefit.
In 1996, in attempt to thwart our nation's obesity epidemic, The National Institutes of
Health and Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D. in the Shape Up America program
proposal stated, "Comorbid conditions increase the risk of disability or premature
mortality" (subsequently., obesity has been shown to decrease life expectancy by more
than four years).
The National Institutes of Health delineated comorbid conditions as:
-Type 1 or 2 diabetes
-Obstructive sleep apnea
-Lower extremity venous stasis disease
-Gastroesophageal reflux disease
-Urinary stress incontinence, and
-Idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
It also stated "An increased risk for all cause mortality has been shown for BMI >27."
Lifestyle modification through diet, exercise, and changes in behaviors associated with
eating is essential to lose and then to maintain weight loss. Although a 5 -10% weight
loss may be perceived by a patient as insignificant, such success should be praised as it
improves many obesity-related conditions.
At Southampton Health Services, our goal is to assist our patients in the long-term
management of their weight. We continually stress and reinforce a cardiovascular
exercise program (for example, walking for 1/2 -3/4 hrs six days per week) and prescribe a
diet that is low in simple sugars with reduced saturated fats and carbohydrates. Eating
within two hours of going to bed (hibernation) must be stopped. Fast foods, fried foods,
all-you-can-eat buffets, high-density/high calorie sit down restaurants, sweet-teas, sodas,
bottled juices, and other sugar/carbohydrate snacks need to be eliminated. Alcohol,
because of both calories and potential interactions with medications, is not allowed.
"Because obesity is a chronic condition, pharmacotherapy should be initiated with the
expectation that long-term use will most likely be needed" (National Task Force on the
Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. JAMA, 1996). Use of anorectic medications assist
in weight loss while providing reinforcement that lifestyle modifications are effective.
Use of Diuretics
Since many of our patients have increased total body salt-water due to a number of
factors including body habitus and high salt intake, we frequently will prescribe a
diuretic. We most commonly prescribe Maxzide, a potassium-sparing diuretic. If this is
prescribed, periodic monitoring of both blood sugar and potassium levels is necessary as
diuretics can cause both increased blood sugar and decreased potassium. It is the policy
at SHS to test these blood levels every ten weeks. If the patient does not get these tested,
the diuretic cannot be prescribed (the appetite suppressant can be prescribed).
* While the patient testimonials and informaiton provided are factual - as with any participation required program - your results may vary