Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your BMI is in the overweight or obese range, your health care provider will typically review your health history in detail, perform a physical exam and recommend some tests.

These exams and tests generally include:

  • Taking your health history. Your doctor may review your weight history, weight-loss efforts, exercise habits, eating patterns, what other conditions you've had, medications, stress levels and other issues about your health. Your doctor may also review your family's health history to see if you may be predisposed to certain conditions.
  • Checking for other health problems. If you have known health problems, your doctor will evaluate them. Your doctor will also check for other possible health problems in the examination and laboratory tests, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Calculating your BMI. Your doctor will check your body mass index (BMI) to determine your level of obesity. This should be done at least once a year. Your BMI also helps determine your overall health risk and what treatment may be appropriate.
  • Measuring your waist circumference. Fat stored around your waist, sometimes called visceral fat or abdominal fat, may further increase your risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Women with a waist measurement (circumference) of more than 35 inches (88 centimeters, or cm) and men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches (102 cm) may have more health risks than do people with smaller waist measurements. Like the BMI measurement, your waist circumference should be checked at least once a year.
  • A general physical exam. This includes measuring your height; checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; listening to your heart and lungs; and examining your abdomen.
  • Blood tests. What tests you have depend on your health, risk factors and any current symptoms you may be having. Tests may include a cholesterol test, liver function tests, fasting glucose, a thyroid test and others, depending on your health situation. Your doctor may also recommend certain heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram.

Gathering all this information helps you and your doctor determine how much weight you need to lose and what health conditions or risks you have. And this will shape what treatment options are right for you.

May. 13, 2014

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