As a practicing Physician Assistant here in New York City, many of my patient’s come to me to discuss weight loss and weight management. I know you’ve read and seen something like this: “Before starting this or any exercise program, always consult your doctor.” There’s good reason for that. Before you start your diet or exercise plan it’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your health care provider and receive basic blood work. (Losing weight is very personal, but it’s important that you share this decision to improve your life with the people who are closest to you. It shouldn’t be a secret, especially from your medical provider.)
Your health care provider will likely order a “CMP”- comprehensive metabolic panel, a “CBC” – complete blood count, a lipid (cholesterol) panel, a “UA” – urinalysis, and possibly a few other tests. Depending on your specific case, perhaps a “TSH” – thyroid-stimulating hormone to assess your thyroid function, or HBA1C% test may be performed if diabetes is suspected. (It’s also a good idea to have an EKG performed to ensure proper cardiac function before starting any rigorous exercise program.) We here at LWFY want you to start safely, smartly, and remain that way.
Reviewing blood work allows us as health care providers to get a glimpse on how your body is functioning from the inside out, and give us insight into your overall health. When reviewing this type of blood work and a urinalysis, we can begin to monitor things like: glucose (sugar) levels, cholesterol (“good” and “bad”), oxygen carrying capacity, white blood cells, sodium and other electrolyte levels, kidney function, and more. I like reviewing these types of labs with my patients who are making positive lifestyle changes and losing weight. It gives them a chance to see concrete evidence that they are improving their lives and doing very good things for their health.
As always here at LWFY, I am truthful in sharing my weight loss experiences. I did not meet with my health care provider prior to starting my weight loss. I was scared shitless that I would be diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, or who knows what else. In hindsight I so wish I had. I would have been able to see the positive changes that clearly result from losing over one hundred pounds of fat. (Not to mention I may have required some kind of medication at the time.) Of course I want you to learn from my past (mistakes) and be sure to remind you to see your health care provider and get these tests done in order to make sure you are good and ready to hit the ground running (or walking, or elliptical-ing, or cycling). These tests are usually performed on an annual basis, but depending on what specifically has been ordered, your health care provider may request follow up labs on a 30 day, 90 day, or 6 month cycle.
“The Physician Assistant will see you now.”