Discussing weight at your doctor’s appointment

Discussing weight at your doctor’s appointment

You may dread going to a doctor’s appointment because of having to step onto a scale to determine your weight. But your physician can support you on your journey to reaching a healthy weight while helping you manage any weight-related health conditions.

“Weight can affect your health in both your current state and future state,” says Dr. Christopher Molitor, a family medicine physician at Advocate Health Care. “Having a higher weight puts you at risk in the future for certain health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even some cancers. In your current state, a heavier weight could be putting stress on your joints that is leading to back or knee pain. And losing weight may help reduce that pain.”

Sleep is also heavily influenced by your weight. In fact, studies have found that people who are considered obese are more likely to report that they have insomnia. This is true for sleep apnea as well.

In general, Dr. Molitor says that a heavier weight can lead to snoring and not feeling as rested after sleeping. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist who can address these concerns or even perform a sleep study.

Luckily, your primary care doctor can help you manage health concerns that may be tied to being overweight.

Dr. Molitor says the following topics may be discussed at your appointment:
  • Health history. This includes what diseases and conditions run in your family. Based on this information, your doctor may recommend certain preventive screenings.
  • Lifestyle changes. Making changes to your routine can positively impact your weight. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, quitting smoking and improving your quality of sleep. Lifestyle changes can potentially reduce the need for certain medications.
  • Lab orders. Lab testing and other routine screenings can show whether your weight is starting to impact your health. Triglyceride, cholesterol and blood sugar levels will most likely be evaluated. Subsequent medications may be prescribed based on the lab test’s findings.
  • Weight loss medicines. Modifying your lifestyle is the first action your doctor will recommend. But some people may be candidates for weight loss medications. Your doctor can help you find the right one and explain how to properly use the medication.
  • Weight loss procedures. Like weight loss medicines, surgery is not the best option for everyone, but some people may benefit from the procedure. Your primary care doctor can refer you to a bariatric medicine specialist who can help you decide whether it’s the right option for you. Many people find that after weight loss surgery they don’t need certain medications anymore to treat weight-related health conditions such as diabetes.

Overall, your primary care doctor wants you to feel comfortable discussing your weight. This allows them to answer any of your questions or concerns and set you up for success.

Are you trying to watch your weight? Take a free online quiz to learn more about your healthy weight range.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations for over three years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family and keeping up with the latest trends.