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After you’ve had weight loss surgery, it’s important to stay on top of your follow-up care. This could mean two to four visits in the first year for nutrition, having labs checked and meeting with your dietitian. After that, you may only need to return once a year to ensure you’re not developing any health-related problems.
We’re here to explain why these follow-up visits are crucial for maintaining your whole health with the top six reasons to regularly follow up with your bariatric team after weight loss surgery for a lifetime of wholeness. We’re here for you for the long run.
1. Stay on Top of Nutrition
The changes your body undergoes during and after bariatric surgery either restrict the amount of food you can eat or cause malabsorption of key nutrients. As a result, bariatric patients can develop serious vitamin or mineral deficiencies several years after surgery.
The most frequent follow-up is in the first one to two years, but nutritional problems can become more common over time. It can take time for nutrient stores to deplete, and people may become more lax in their eating habits and taking their recommended supplements, causing nutritional issues to set in later. Keep up with your visits with your dietician on a regular basis to stay on top of your nutrition.
2. Vitamin and Mineral Control
After weight loss surgery, you’ll need to take over-the-counter vitamins and minerals for life to support your wellness. Your bariatric surgery program will instruct you on what and how much to take. These typically include a multivitamin, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D3 and iron. Some patients will need chewable vitamins, or pills if they’re well-tolerated.
Patients who don’t take vitamins every day for life can struggle with medical problems due to low vitamin and mineral levels. Keeping up with your follow-ups will help you know what you need and if your body has a deficiency at any given time.
3. Lose the Weight and Keep it Off
Weight regain is a factor that can weigh heavy on the minds of bariatric patients.. At AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery, we are dedicated to supporting our patients’ long-term success. And we also understand that setbacks may occur.
Research has shown that keeping your follow-up visits can help prevent or reverse postoperative weight gain several years after surgery. During your annual follow-up exam, your team will help identify eating behaviors and lifestyle choices that may lead to weight gain and guide you on what lifestyle changes you can incorporate to lose any weight you have regained.
Weight gain can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Regular checkups with your doctor let you and your team catch any developing health problems or nutritional deficiencies before they cause serious problems. Your lab tests will be more detailed than those typically taken during an annual checkup with your primary care provider.
4. Optimize Your Medication Plan
Many weight loss surgery patients already take more than one medication for their existing health challenges. After surgery, patients can often stop taking some medications, or their dosages will be decreased at their doctor’s discretion. Some patients will need different forms of medications if they’re taking extended-release drugs. Others will need dosage adjustments right after surgery.
Changes such as liquid or chewable medications may be needed, and these should be done under a doctor's or pharmacist's supervision. Many patients will be on some form of anti-acid medication for some time after their operation. Keeping up with your regular follow-up visits will allow you and your doctor to optimize your medication plan as changes need to be made.
5. Keep You Moving for Life
After weight loss surgery, patients often feel they have more energy and may want to start exercising. Walking frequently, starting just a few hours after surgery, can help patients recover faster.
Each patient is different and should check with their doctor before beginning any exercise routine. Once started, it should be done with the goal of 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity. Exercise will also help keep the weight off when it becomes a habit.
It’s even more important to check in with your doctor for follow-up visits to ensure you’re staying in tip-top shape from your exercise routine and your healthy diet.
6. A Lifetime of Wholeness Awaits
Our whole-health approach to bariatric care includes support for body, mind and spirit. We understand that weight loss is about so much more than the physical changes. We’re here to support your mental and spiritual health as well, including any challenges you may be facing with:
- Emotional eating
- Emotional and psychological challenges
- Head hunger
- Life changes from weight loss
While bariatric surgery is associated with an overall improvement in mental health, big life changes can come with big feelings. Know that your care team is here to help you cope before, during and after this life-changing transformation.
Learn more about AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery, our comprehensive bariatric care and how we can support your whole health for life here. You deserve to feel whole.