Ms. Quintana is a determined, dedicated and strong individual. When I first met her, she had a list of her medications, along with a tally of her latest glucose and blood pressure measurements. It was clear that she had a goal, a goal to improve her health and take control of her life again.

Throughout her adult life, obesity had gradually taken a toll on her overall health. Diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, she’d tried various diets – some more successful than others – but nothing made a significant difference.

Her blood pressure and diabetes were very well-controlled with medications; however, the arthritis and chronic knee and back pain forced her to have to use a cane. That loss of mobility prohibited her from partaking in her favorite hobby, and only form of regular physical exercise – dancing. She was determined to do whatever it took to regain control of her health once and for all. That is what led her to learn more about bariatric or weight loss surgery.

Eight months ago, she underwent a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure involves removing about two thirds of the stomach to restrict food intake. It can often result in as much as 50-70% of excess weight loss. The impact goes well beyond just the weight loss though. Fortunately, it can lead to remission for some and/or improvement of several medical condition that are associated with obesity for others.

As for Ms. Quintana, she was taken off the medications that controlled her blood pressure and diabetes, as they were no longer medically necessary. These conditions have been so well –controlled without medications that she was advised that there was no benefit to checking her sugar levels as often as she had in the past. But the most satisfying milestone for her after her surgery was when she traded the cane for her dancing shoes. Now, she is a dancing machine and no longer uses a cane. She’s even found that new music to entertain her passion and is excited to start rebuilding a new wardrobe.

If you are considering weight loss surgery, I recommend learning about the options for surgery and attending an information session. There is a lot you must learn before making a decision. Weigh the pros and cons. Think about what’s best for you and learn about ways to start improving your diet and lifestyle. Weight loss surgeries have many benefits, but they also carry with them unique risks. Speak to a qualified surgeon and ask any questions you might have. In addition to consulting a qualified physician, you may want to take advantage of message boards and blogs. Gain perspective from people who’ve had weight loss surgery. Learn from their experiences. Discover things you might not have considered before.

Ms. Quintana continues to be a dedicated and disciplined person. Her surgery helped her reach optimal results. To date she has lost over 80 pounds. She has traded her diabetes pills for multi-vitamins and has traded in her walking cane for a pair of dancing shoes.