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Should You See a Doctor for Weight Loss?

writtenByWritten by: Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Linda Anegawa
Reviewer

Linda Anegawa

Dr. Anegawa graduated from Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine & completed her residency at Stanford. Linda has over 15 yrs of practice and currently specializes in weight management & diabetes.

July 26, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

Can I Ask My Doctor to Help Me Lose Weight?

Weight loss can be a difficult physical and psychological journey. 

Oftentimes, after gaining weight, a high weight “set point” is created in the body and brain that can make lifestyle changes less likely to succeed on their own. 

When healthy eating habits, exercise programs, weight management programs, and changing habits do not produce results, a weight loss doctor can help. 

What Type of Doctor Helps With Weight Loss?

A weight loss doctor is a doctor who specializes in weight loss management by using a comprehensive approach to weight loss. 

All doctors can help with weight loss, but a weight loss doctor specializing in Obesity Medicine has additional training in weight loss medications, surgeries, and medical devices for weight loss.

Continue reading to learn more about how a weight loss doctor can help guide a weight management treatment plan that works for your needs.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Weight Loss Struggles in Context

It is estimated that 72% of the US population suffers from obesity, and rates are increasing dramatically. Rather than being a lifestyle choice or a matter of willpower, obesity is a medical disease resulting in serious health consequences. Obesity has also emerged as the single biggest risk factor (behind age) which predicts severe disease and death as a result of COVID-19 infection.  

Conditions associated with excess weight include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol 
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Abnormal blood sugars, including prediabetes, gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Reproductive concerns including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Inflammatory skin conditions such as Psoriasis
  • Depression and anxiety

According to the World Health Organization, obesity affects virtually all age and socioeconomic groups and threatens to overwhelm both developed and developing countries. 

A Comprehensive Approach to Weight Loss Treatment 

Given that obesity is a complex disease with medical, social, psychological, and environmental factors, a comprehensive treatment approach is recommended. 

Lifestyle changes are a cornerstone of therapy, and this includes changes in eating and physical activity that can support a healthier weight.  A weight loss doctor can help you with these changes, by first helping you come up with a goal, plan, and timeframe to lose weight. 

The subject of a weight loss goal in itself can be intimidating even before starting. Many of us have been told to aim for an “ideal body weight,” when in reality, our bodies can be healthy at a range of weights. It’s also important to acknowledge the impact of genetics on our body size: it is unrealistic for someone with larger bones or a more muscular athletic frame to expect to become model-thin through weight loss. 

Also, research shows that only a 5-10% weight loss can significantly improve the health consequences of obesity. Your weight loss doctor can help you come up with a goal that is realistic and achievable for you, making it more likely that you will succeed.

Instead of stating a generalized goal, it is much more effective to make goals that are: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Time-sensitive

For example, the goal of “I will drink water instead of soda for one month” would be a more achievable goal than “I will give up sugar.” 

Can My Primary Doctor Help Me Lose Weight?

Your primary care doctor, whether in-person or online, can help you lose weight by guiding you through a weight management treatment plan.

Primary care physicians can also help check your progress by monitoring your weight, waist measurement, blood pressure and blood testing during visits. Seeing your progress in between visits may boost your confidence and propel you towards more weight loss.

What Does a Weight Loss Doctor Do?

Your weight loss doctor may prescribe medications in conjunction with a healthy eating plan and exercise regimen, if you meet criteria for a prescription. 

The FDA has approved several weight loss drugs and several weight loss devices. 

The weight loss drugs approved include:

The FDA approves medical devices and surgical options as second-line weight loss management tools. Approved medical devices and surgeries for weight loss include:

  • Electrical stimulation system – The electrical stimulation system uses a device that blocks nerve activity between your stomach and brain.
  • Gastric balloon system – Balloons are in your stomach and filled with salt water, so they take up more space in your stomach and help you feel fuller.
  • Gastric emptying system – A gastric emptying system uses a pump to drain part of the food from your stomach after a meal. 
  • Bariatric surgery- Surgical intervention such as the gastric bypass or gastric sleeve.

Although medical device treatment for weight loss may seem extreme, these treatments are generally safe and effective, plus they have been shown that they can prevent long-term consequences of obesity, which are far more dangerous.  

When Should I See My Doctor About Weight Loss?

You may be wondering, should I talk to my doctor about weight loss? If you have attempted weight loss for three to six months without much success, it may be time to see a doctor about weight loss. Doctors may not write prescriptions for weight loss automatically. Your weight loss doctor will review your medical history as well as the medications you take. Some medications can cause weight gain, and adjusting these can help quite a bit. 

After causes are determined, the weight loss doctor will come up with a treatment plan. If you struggle to lose weight or do not know where to start, you can see a PlushCare doctor to get started on your weight loss journey.

Can I Do a Virtual Visit for Weight Loss?

Are weight loss doctors online? Yes, you can do a virtual visit for weight loss with a licensed doctor through a telehealth service such as PlushCare. This will allow you to get medical guidance from the convenience of your home, without having to go to a doctor’s office in person.

Through a secure video conference or voice call on your mobile phone, computer, or tablet, you can speak with a physician who will listen to your concerns and help you determine an appropriate weight loss treatment plan for your needs.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Weight Loss Treatment Online

You are not alone in your weight loss journey, and if you are suffering or feel you have been unsuccessful, there is help. If you have tried losing weight on your own and have been unsuccessful or haven’t been able to keep the weight off, you can speak to a doctor about your options.

PlushCare offers high-quality care to treat obesity and diseases related to obesity. Talk to your PlushCare physician about your weight loss goals. If you are already diagnosed with obesity or obesity-related disorders, talk with your physician about treatment options.

To make a virtual appointment with a PlushCare doctor, click here.


Read More About Seeing an Online Weight Loss Doctor


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight & Obesity. Accessed on May 11, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html 

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for overweight and obesity. Accessed on May 11, 2021 from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/treatment 

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity among adults: United States, 2011-2012. NCHS Data Brief. 2013 Oct;(131):1-8. Accessed on May 11, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24152742/ 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014. Accessed July 19, 2021 at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-chronic-weight-management-first-2014

World Health Organization. Controlling the global obesity epidemic. Accessed on May 10, 2021 from https://www.who.int/activities/controlling-the-global-obesity-epidemic

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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