It keeps happening: Overweight and obese women post comments in social media that they’re healthy — because their blood work is normal.

However, an increased risk of the cancers that obesity increases the risk of will NOT show up in a blood test for cholesterol, other cardiac markers and sugar levels!

To date, there is no routine blood test that shows a heightened risk for knee osteoarthritis, venous insufficiency or deep vein thromboses!

Obesity and overweight increase the risk of all three of these conditions.

“Risk” is the key word here. A blood test CAN detect the presence of a blood clot and heart attack — after the clot has formed or attack has occurred. Don’t get confused by the D-dimer and troponin tests, respectively.

I’m talking about the common, routine blood tests that physicians give patients as part of their physicals.

There is NO screening blood test for detecting the risk level for all the other negative fallouts of obesity such as:

• Inevitable impaired mobility

• Spinal disc problems

• Complications from surgery

• Complications during childbirth

As for type 2 diabetes, come on, a normal fasting glucose or A1C only means that NOW you don’t have diabetes!

Nobody gets type 2 diabetes overnight. You become prediabetic or insulin-resistant first.

So your blood sugar is normal NOW. What about next year or the year after? Being overweight and especially obese makes it much more likely that you’ll become a type 2 diabetic—eventually.

A normal blood test NOW cannot predict the likelihood of obesity-related disease five years from now, and especially 10 years from now, when your body isn’t as youthfully resilient.

The Body Positive Movement Is Not a Medical Approach

“Overweight and obesity are independent risk factors for cancer and heart attacks,” begins Dana S. Simpler, MD, an internal medicine physician with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, who specializes in helping patients treat disease and obesity with diet and exercise.

“So, it makes no sense to look for reasons to support being overweight or obese,” continues Dr. Simpler.

“It is more logical [than becoming ‘body positive’] to help people understand their weight problem — which is directly related to our over-processed, artificial diet.

“Processed foods are engineered to make you overeat. No one binges on broccoli or apples.

“People overeat ice cream, chips, cookies — foods that do not resemble anything in nature, but stimulate the addiction receptors in the brain. Eat more, eat more.”

Body positive crusaders are quick to point out that thin people get heart attacks, stroke and diabetes.

Guess what: Thin people also have normal blood work and then two years later have a heart attack, stroke or develop type 2 diabetes.

My point? Great health doesn’t all boil down to this thing called blood work, which is why a skinny person with normal blood work can drop dead of a heart attack a week later.

It’s funny how body positive crusaders don’t point out this very compelling fact, and mention blood work only when it’s convenient for their cause.

If you’re going to announce that your normal blood work means you’re healthy, you should also mention that skinny people with normal blood work have been known to drop from a heart attack or stroke a month later.

• Can blood work determine the integrity of your knee joints?

• Can it identify the state of your intestinal health?

• Can it tell if a nurse will have difficulty finding a vein due to excess fat if she needs to draw blood from you?

• Can it tell that you get really out of breath climbing just a single flight of stairs and don’t find it particularly easy to rise out of a low chair without pushing off the arm rests with your hands?

• Can it tell that your back kills you after doing housework?

What Normal Blood Work Can’t Tell in an Obese Person

Obesity shortens lifespan. This fact cannot be demonstrated with blood work.

Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine researchers recently named the top five factors that cause preventable life-years lost. Here they are, in order of most to least:

• Obesity

• Diabetes

• Tobacco use

• High blood pressure

• High cholesterol

Great blood work (a.k.a. normal, good, healthy) does not show how much more likely you will suffer an obesity-related fate than if you were of a medically acceptable weight.

We all know that skinny people get sick and die young. But this in no way invalidates the fact that the entire medical establishment agrees that obesity is an enormous risk factor for a myriad of medical ailments – including Alzheimer’s disease. And routine “blood work” won’t show that, either.

dana simpler, MD

Dr. Simpler received her medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine and has been in practice for over 20 years.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.