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Weight-Loss Surgeries Changing Lives

Sisters Lorena Garcia, 39, and Alma Garcia, 41, were well aware of the toll that morbid obesity had taken on their health. Alma was suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid disease and Lorena had developed degenerative bone disease.//

When they scheduled their gastric bypass surgeries at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on the same day in February 2006, they joined a growing number of severely overweight Americans who are choosing to have weight-loss surgery as a means of improving their quality of life and reducing their risk for life-threatening conditions such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Ted Khalili, M.D., director of the Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, sees the impact of obesity everyday but now has another perspective on the problem.

“A recent study from the University of Illinois shows that within the next 50 years, life expectancy in the United States is predicted to drop due to obesity. That implies that all the public health measures that were put into effect in the last two decades that contributed to the rise in the expected life span - including antibiotics, refrigeration, clean water and vaccines - are being reversed because of obesity. That really puts the problem into perspective.”

According to Khalili, Lorena and Alma were ideal candidates for weight-loss surgery in every sense. They were morbidly obese (more than 100 pounds overweight) and their obesity had significantly affected their health, lifestyle, mobility and longevity.

Both were normal weight while growing up in Tijuana but began to gain excess weight in their teens after they moved with their parents and eight siblings to Los Angeles. “After we got married, (both married men with the last name Garcia), “the weight started going up and up,” recalled Lorena. By the time they had children and were in their 30’s, both women were carrying more than 100 extra pounds on t
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