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Why Labs Matter More Than BMI


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    In our blog post, Is Your Excess Weight a Health Risk? we explore the nuanced factors that contribute to determining if it’s worth it for you to seek out weight loss for health reasons. 

    In this post, we’re diving deeper into the subject of labs and why they can offer you the most insight into your health risk—far beyond what knowing your BMI alone can offer. 

    Labs Are More Accurate Than BMI When Identifying Disease

    BMI isn’t totally worth throwing out the window; it’s a great screening tool that can indicate health issues. But weight itself isn’t always a health problem. 

    It’s a mistake to think you can tell the state of someone’s health just by looking at them. There are plenty of “skinny” people who are sick—and there are fat people who are healthy. Labs allow us to get a more accurate picture of health than BMI alone. 

    Labs to Test for Metabolic Dysfunction 

    In obesity medicine, doctors screen for metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. These five criteria can tell you much more about your individual health than the number on the scale or your BMI! They are:

    • High blood pressure (>130/85)
    • High triglycerides (>150 mg/dL)
    • Low HDL cholesterol (<40 mg/dL in men or <50 mg/dL in women)
    • Central adiposity (waist circumference >40 inches in men or >35 in women)
    • Elevated fasting glucose (>110 mg/dL) 

    When someone has at least three of these issues clustered together, they are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. 

    But even just one of these markers can indicate insulin resistance—a condition that makes it extremely difficult to lose weight and impacts your health. If you have access to your fasting insulin and fasting glucose numbers, you can see if you have insulin resistance by using our HOMA-IR calculator

    The tricky part is that these markers all mean that losing weight will benefit your health, however, they also make it very difficult to shed excess pounds. That’s why medical interventions like GLP-1 medications are so revolutionary; they improve health markers and make weight loss possible.  

    More Issues That Labs Can Uncover 

    If your labs indicate any of the following health issues, it means that losing weight will likely benefit your health: 

    • Non-alcohol fatty liver syndrome
    • Insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes mellitus
    • Hyperlipidemia
    • PCOS and/or infertility

    How to Test Your Labs 

    We created the Weight Biology Kit for this exact reason: to help you understand your unique biology and get a quick and easy snapshot of your metabolic health. 

    With the kit, you can test 8 of the most important metabolic health markers from the comfort of your home, followed up by a customized report summarizing your results and what they mean for you. 

    Of course, you can also get your labs ordered by a physician, and we always recommend working with a doctor on your health. We’re just here to help empower you beyond what you can get from a short physician’s visit! 

    I Have a Condition, Now What? 

    Your doctor should work with you to treat any disease that is revealed by your labs. 

    If your labs revealed metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, PCOS, diabetes, heart disease, or another weight-related condition, you might be a good candidate for GLP-1 medication. You can download our guide to FDA-Approved Weight Loss Medication here to help sort through the medication options available to you so you can discuss with your doctor.


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