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Bariatric surgery.

Q I'm 62 and have heard conflicting information about bariatric surgery for people my age and older. Am I too old? I have diabetes and am doing a better job dieting and exercising. But I have a long way to go and was wondering if surgery was an option.

A Depending on your overall health, you may be a good candidate for bariatric or weight-loss surgery. There is no real age limit. Instead patients are evaluated based on their ability to handle major surgery, the perceived benefits of such a procedure and on their likelihood of following up the surgery with dietary modifications and other healthy behaviors.

It sounds as though you're already taking steps to improve your eating habits and get more exercise, so that's a good sign. Major weight-loss surgery has been shown to also relieve some symptoms of diabetes, too.

You should know, however, that bariatric surgery is considered an intermediate-to-high-risk procedure. If you want to proceed, your doctor will likely order a cardiac stress test to determine the health and function of your heart, to help ensure that your odds of a successful outcome are well in your favor.

Editor-in-Chief Bruce A. Ferrell, MD, Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics

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Title Annotation:ASK THE DOCTOR
Publication:Healthy Years
Article Type:Interview
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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