Expert Commentary: Dr. Elliot Goodman, M.D. - May 20, 2009

The epidemic of obesity has huge ramifications. One of which is the cost to the healthcare system dealing with the ever widening range of medical complications associated with being overweight. The study from Newcastle University looked into complications to newborns. Here are a few of the potential complications associated with obesity and pregnancy to the mother.

They include:

·    Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a condition which causes high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling during pregnancy. When serious, preeclampsia can restrict placental blood flow, endangering baby.

·    Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It prevents your body from breaking down sugar and can put your baby at risk for gaining too much weight in utero.

·    Cesarean Section: Women who are obese during pregnancy have an increased risk of experiencing problems during delivery. Labor is more likely to be slow and prolonged, increasing the likelihood of cesarean section.

·    Postpartum Infection: Obesity during pregnancy also makes you more vulnerable to experiencing a difficult postpartum recovery. In particular, if you have had a c-section, you are at risk for developing dangerous postpartum infections.

Each one of these complications possesses serious health risks and costs. When you multiply this by the fact that according to recent data up to 1/3 of Americans are considered obese, our nation simply will not be able to afford the added costs of the healthcare system.

Dr. Valentin Fuster, former President of The American Heart Association also warns of a pending financial collapse of the healthcare system. He fears that the costs associated with treating heart disease alone could bankrupt the system. He says that while we are getting better and better at keeping patients alive who have cardiovascular disease, it simply will be too expensive to offer it to everyone. A heart transplant can extend a patient’s life. However, in total it can cost over $1,000,000. Since most cardiovascular disease is preventable, the only solution will be lifestyle changes.

In my area of expertise, bariatric surgery can go a long way to reduce the health complications related to obesity, including an almost immediate relief from Type 2 diabetes. It should seriously be considered by anyone who has struggled with obesity and not been able to resolve it through exercise and diet. It not only will improve your health, but will probably have a long-term positive impact on your financial well-being, as well as the financial well-being of the nation.


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Empowered Medical Media's Medical Editorial Board

Dr. Marc Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D.
Complimentary and Integrative Medicine


Philadelphia, PA

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