GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The CDC reports that adult obesity is on the rise – recently passing the 40% mark. Obesity is a chronic disease that can lead to serious conditions including heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

As part of our “Ask The Expert” series, 7NEWS’ Taylor Murray spoke with a physician’s assistant about surgical weight loss and how it can be lifesaving for those struggling with obesity.

Ashley Colatriano, a physician’s assistant with Bon Secours, says weight loss surgery is an option for some who have tried diet and exercise without success.

“These are generally or morbidly obese patients,” says Colatriano, “our patients, generally, we qualify them with a body mass index of 35 to 39.9.”

Gastric bypass has, up to this point, been the most common procedure. There is now another option.

“The newer of the two, which is the second procedure that we offer is the sleeve gastrectomy which is now considered the most mentally minimally invasive in comparison to the gastric bypass,” says Colatriano.

Both procedures make the stomach physically smaller and patients are required to stay one or two nights post-op in the hospital.

Weight loss surgery – while lifesaving – is not a quick fix.

Colatriano tells us “patients kind of say that the hardest part after surgery is not really recovering from the surgery it’s generally learning their new normal.”

Lifestyle changes must be implemented after the surgery.

“So we do have everybody on, you know high protein low carb vegetables, obviously, as important as well. We aim for 300 minutes a week of exercise.. we generally aim for their portion size to be able to generally fit within the palm of their hand, so they are definitely are eating smaller portion sizes,” says Colatriano.

There are some steps that must be taken leading up to the surgery.

“Before they come into the office for their first appointment, they are required to watch our online seminar which goes through the procedures with them…,” Ashley told Taylor.

Then, before a surgeon signs off on the procedure, your medical history must be evaluated, blood work must be completed, and appointments with a physical therapist and psychologist must take place.

If you are struggling with your weight, and it’s leading to serious health issues, the first step, professionals say, is to reach out to your primary care physician to see if surgical weight loss is an option for you.