Story by: Crystal Hammon on February 4, 2020
Lori Lively’s gradual seven-year weight gain after an automobile accident raised her blood pressure, elevated her blood sugar level to diabetic range and worsened an existing heart condition.
After the wreck and later, a hysterectomy, Lori’s once active lifestyle slowed and her food choices started affecting her weight. On her petite 5-foot frame, even a small gain affected how she felt.
“My upper body strength just wasn’t there anymore, and I got to the point that I was scared to be active because I knew it was going to hurt,” she said. “It was so easy to slip into not doing things.”
Dissatisfied with her loss of energy and inability to lose weight by dieting, the once-slim 42-year-old grandmother discussed her concern with her nurse practitioner, who referred Lori to Jeff W. Allen, M.D., bariatric surgeon with Norton Weight Management Services.
Lori met the criteria for gastric sleeve surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach by making a small pouch. Afterward, the patient needs less food to feel satisfied.
Find out more about bariatric surgery or a medically guided weight loss plan.
Lori had the surgery on July 13, 2019, and returned to her job at an insurance agency one week later.
In just a few short weeks after surgery, Lori’s weight loss had improved her health enough that doctors discontinued her blood pressure and diabetes medications.
Although Lori considers the gastric sleeve instrumental to her weight loss, she said the supportive services available to her afterward are just as important.
“There are dietitians and counselors who can support you and help you do things differently. They’re there for you anytime you slip up and get back into old habits,” she said. “Once you learn to eat healthier, even small portions of something unhealthy aren’t worth the way they make your body feel.”
In Lori’s case, a gastric sleeve was the impetus for new eating habits that helped her lose weight and recover the necessary energy to lead an active lifestyle with her husband, Mark. And now she doesn’t need blood pressure medication.
“The heart is one of the first organs impacted by significant weight gain,” Dr. Allen said. “Being overweight makes the heart work much harder. The good news is, just like in Lori’s case, even a small amount of weight loss can give the heart a boost.”
It takes about 5% to 10% loss of body weight to begin to reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Lori said she hopes her positive experience helps others realize they don’t have to be dramatically overweight to benefit from weight loss help.
“I’m not going to be embarrassed about this,” she said. “I couldn’t do it on my own. I reached out for help before it got worse, and I don’t regret a thing.”
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