Have you had your blood test?

How important are regular blood
tests after my WLS?

Weight loss surgery is a lifetime event that can provide some amazing benefits, but also some manageable risks of nutritional deficiency (due to restriction and malnutrition).

These are risks that can be easily avoided when properly monitored with simple and regular blood tests. Avoiding nutritional deficiency is much easier than trying to fix all the issues like foggy brain, brittle nails, heart issues etc. that nutritional starvation can cause.

Nutrient absorption and intake are forever changed by your surgery.

A baseline set of blood tests a few months before your surgery will alert you to any nutrients that might need catching up on before your surgery date.

Why? Research shows that recovery and healing times are better, and complications are less likely, in patients with a good nutritional base to work from.

Remember It takes more of certain nutrients to assist your body in the healing process.

After surgery, regular blood tests and monitoring are an important part of managing your long term health, and can help prevent nutrient deficiencies by catching issues early and allowing appropriate supplementation. This is explained in more detail later.

What's the big deal?

Deficiency in these key nutrients might not be staring you in the face - but left unchecked (and uncorrected), some deficiencies will leave you with serious permanent problems.
Regular monitoring for life is the best action - so that if your levels are becoming low it can be corrected before problems arise. Prevention is much better than playing catch up.

What action should I be taking?

How overdue are you for these essential WLS blood tests? No matter how good your diet is or how many supplements you take, you need to have WLS blood tests, at least yearly, for the rest of your life. Speak with your doctor.

A comprehensive set of Bariatric Blood Tests might include:

 

Essential ‘Must do’ baseline blood tests

Vitamin D

Iron Studies

Vitamin B12

Folate

Homocysteine

Full Blood Count

 

Optional Extra Baseline Blood Tests (Highly recommended)

 

Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)

Vitamin A (carotenoids)

Zinc

Magnesium

Selenium

Copper

Coeliac Serology

Clotting Times (INR)

Vitamin E

Thiamin

 


NUTRIENTS AFFECTED BY WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY

The most common five key nutrients affected by most types of Weight Loss Surgery and so need careful monitoring include:

CALCIUM

IRON

VITAMIN D

VITAMIN B12

THIAMIN

Other nutrients that are also concerning and often affected by and checked after Weight Loss Surgery include:

MAGNESIUM

ZINC

SELENIUM

VITAMIN C

VITAMIN A

COPPER


There are 4 key areas in which nutrient deficiency can cause problems:

1. BONE DENSITY  Calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium
2. BLOOD, ENERGY & IMMUNE SYSTEM  Iron, B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folate
3. NERVOUS SYSTEM Thiamin, B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folate
4. MUSCLE TISSUE  Complete Protein.

  • BONE
  • BLOOD
  • NERVOUS SYSTEM
  • MUSCLE TISSUE

1. BONE DENSITY

Up to 90% of patients are Vitamin D deficient to begin. Surgery then impacts absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D increasing the risk of problems, such as osteoporosis.
Many patients are dairy free after surgery.
So supplementing calcium needs to be consistent to save your bones.
(recommended Calcium 1500 - 2400mg/day)

2. BLOOD, ENERGY & IMMUNE SYSTEM

Anaemia affects up to 47% of patients in the first year.
This has huge effects on health.
Energy, concentration and immune system are all affected by iron deficiency.
Signs you are low can be:
Lack of focus, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, sore / restless legs.
Daily iron supplement is recommended for all patients (ASMBS, 2017).

(recommended Iron 18 - 27mg/day)

3. NERVOUS SYSTEM & BRAIN HEALTH

Vitamin deficiency can show up as general fatigue, weakness, pins and needles, burning feet, brain fog, cravings.
B12 is a major contributor to these sensations, but many others may be included B1, B12, D, E, and folate.
Nutrients are like a team – they all work together to keep us functioning well.

(recommended B12 300 - 500 mcg/day)

4. PROTECTING LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE

Losing weight is, of course, the desired result of your surgery…
But not eating enough calories and a lack of protein can lead to losing muscle not fat.
A diet high in protein is recommended for life after surgery. It helps to prevent hair loss, hormone problems, and keeps the skin and immune system healthy.

(recommended Protein 60 - 80g/day).

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