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Jan - Feb 2017
The Newsletter for Bariatric Patient Education and Motivation

Medical Tests Every Bariatric Patient Should Have in 2017

By Kevin Suttmoeller, MD


Every 10 or 20 thousand miles you take your car for a checkup. So, why not do the same for your body? Start your New Year off right by planning to pay closer attention to your health in 2017. It’s important if you want to prevent, detect or fight diseases and improve your health. It could even save your life.


Having a good relationship with your primary care physician is key to achieving this goal. Screening recommendations change periodically, so it is important to see your family doctor regularly to assure that you remain on the right track. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and getting regular physical activity are all great starting points. Below are some current general guidelines to keep your health maintenance on track.


Cardiovascular risk assessment should start at the age 20. Risk factors for this disease include poor diet, smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, decreased physical activity and diabetes. A lipid panel is ordered as a one-time screen between the ages of 17-21. High risk individuals who were normal before age 21 should be screened again at the age 25 for men and 35 for women. For patients with normal screening before age 21, who are not at high risk, a lipid screening sheet should be started at age 35 for men and 45 for women. Routine electrocardiograms are not recommended for asymptomatic adults at low risk for cardiovascular disease. C-reactive protein, carotid artery intima–media thickness, coronary artery calcification by computerized tomography, homocysteine and lipoprotein levels are also not generally recommended screening tests.


Adults with hypertension or hyperlipidemia should be screened for type 2 diabetes every 3 years. Patients with a body mass index greater than 25 with 1 or more additional risk factors should be screened if the opportunity presents itself. This often occurs when the patient shows up at the office for another unrelated event. 


Osteoporosis screening is recommended for postmenopausal women less than age 65 with risk factors such as cigarette smoking, low body weight, corticosteroid use, previous fracture and rheumatoid arthritis. All women over 65 years old should be screened. Men with clinical manifestations such as low bone mass, low impact trauma fractures and known risk factors should be screened. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry is commonly used.