Lab to Keep Tabs On My Bariatric Health

I am waiting for a nurse to arrive to draw blood for my labs. No coffee. Might as well have a discussion about taking control of our own health and the labs we need to have run. Let's sort this all out as its a subject that is easily complicated.

It's important to TAKE CARE OF THE BODY, its the only place we have to live. Plus keep tabs on whats going on in order to fix issues while they are still small. We damaged ourselves by being 300 plus plus pounds for many years but we can reverse almost all of it if we pay attention. 

Fancy or Smart?

This year, I started using a Nurse Concierge. A skilled nurse comes to my home at the top of the morning as my tests require fasting and grabs the blood sample in under ten minutes. It is efficient, the nurse is exceptional as this is all she does and the bonus is that I don't have to subject myself to a waiting room filled with strangers or take half a day to go cross town to a lab. This service has been around for years and I will happily use it even after Covid has calmed.

Labs R US

Also of importance to some of you may be that some states have recently changed laws to give you the right to obtain blood tests through a large lab such as Quest, without a doctors order. For many years, due to Obamacare, I could not afford health insurance and this would have been helpful during that time. While I now have insurance, my deductible is so high that it is much less for me to pay for my lab tests using the price sheet instead of my insurance. I pray that the right for people to have labs run on their own is not removed.

Head out of sand

It's important that we know how to look at our own lab orders, discuss tests not on the order that may be needed, have access to the results, and that we sit for a quiet moment and READ them.

This is a topic that easily gets over complicated, so let me simplify it for you. A doctor will normally order most of this. The reason we talk about this at all is due to fact that there are some areas we need to check as weak points because we have largely removed or rearranged organs.

Here is the stuff most docs order as this is what they like to look at for everyone - standard tests:
  • CBC - Complete Blood Count - this panel of tests checks blood cell levels and clotting
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel - a chemistry panel to check kidney and liver function

Then there are a few tests that some will include but others do not, but you can look at the lab sheet or ask to make sure. It is OKAY to ask. These are things that give us a better picture of our health as a bariatric post op. I am not a doctor but this was my course of studies a long long time ago as my degree - which has been a blessing while discussing this matter with doctors over the last 20 years since my surgery.

  • Iron - blood iron that is circulating.
  • Ferritin - stored iron. Needs monitoring because sometimes you have money in checking but your savings is empty. This is important as some bariatric post ops simply do not absorb iron and this is only discovered through this second level test. Once iron is too low, oral iron will NOT raise levels and an infusion or transfusion are needed. Single digit Ferritin levels, left untreated, can damage your heart, so make sure you do not have iron deficiency, via both Blood Iron and Ferritin tests. A small percentage of bariatric post ops must rely on iron infusions and monitor this condition for life. The rest of us are fine with the specialized iron that is contained in J1 or J2 multivitamins, or if a little extra required, Journey Gentle Iron.
  • B12 - New post op needs to check as some are unable to absorb B12 and must have injections. Once you see that your results for B12 are normal for a period after surgery, you are golden. ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE HAVE AN ISSUE WHERE THEY REQUIRE B12 INJECTIONS. For the rest of us, popping a Journey Jelly is fine along with B12 from food. Old post ops need this test once in a while, as many have been taking ridiculously jacked up B12 supplements for so long our levels are scary sky high.
  • Vitamin D - In the News due to COVID-19! It has been shown that people with healthy D levels, that are now considered to be in the 50 to 100IU zone, are less likely to end up in an ICU or on ventilator if infected with Covid. Over 91% of those who are obese have a D deficiency. IF that's not enough to get you to take D, not sure what to make of you.
  • A1C - checks propensity for type 2 diabetes or recovery from same
  • TSH - thyroid stimulating hormone, if you have thyroid issues
  • T4 - another, more comprehensive way to check thyroid

That's it. While you read this, I had my blood drawn. My cholesterol is high, my T4 thyroid is high meaning I need more natural thyroid hormone, and everything else great. 

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