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Obesity is major contributor to heart disease, impediment to diagnosis and treatment
Date:9/18/2012

ather see everybody out there riding their bikes, walking, running, going to the gym. No question that is better than having surgery," said Litwin. However, surgery may be the only thing that enables many obese individuals to make these healthy lifestyle changes, he said. Litwin came to MCG in 2011 from the University of Utah School of Medicine and now works as part of the multidisciplinary team treating morbidly obese patients at GHS Health System.

Excessive fat literally gets in the way of sound waves or X-rays used to diagnose heart disease so resulting images are often inconclusive. Tables where patients lie to get a cardiac catheterization, which can aid diagnosis as well as treatment, typically can't accommodate patients weighing over 400 pounds. While equipment is being adapted for larger patients, the resulting image likely won't improve and the adaptations won't be widely available for several more years, Litwin said.

In the meantime, patients who aren't candidates for bypass surgery or other invasive treatments, are typically prescribed a drug regimen based on symptoms. However the drugs don't work that well either, possibly because dosing has not yet been adjusted for size, he said. "We see patients with hypertension who are on four drugs but aren't responding. One of the most common causes of resistant hypertension is obesity."

"This long-term study provides an objective assessment of what we see every day: bariatric surgery helps many patients make a healthy transformation, inside and out," said Dr. Michael A. Edwards, Director of the GHS Health System Weight Loss Center and Chief of the MCG Section of Minimally Invasive and Digestive Disease Surgery. "Critical to successful outcomes is proper screening to identify the best surgical candidates and the availability of a comprehensive weight loss team to complete a thorough health assessment, provide bariatric surgery options and provide support and information to make long
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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