Having Surgery? Start Living Cleaner Now

No one enjoys having surgery, no matter how minor it may be. Between the anesthesia, pain, and potential complications, a certain amount of apprehension and worry is understandable. Post-op hospital-acquired infections are another common concern, particularly as bacteria are increasingly becoming antibiotic resistant. While these are all valid concerns, you as the patient can take steps now to change your lifestyle prior to general surgery and help your healthcare team provide you the best possible care. Here are some things to consider before having surgery.

Be Honest About the Drugs You Take

Drugs, whether they are prescribed, over-the-counter, herbal supplements, or illicit, can all affect the outcome of your surgical procedure. For example, if you routinely take aspirin for every day aches and pains and headaches, this will cause increased bleeding. Valerian root is made from a flower and is commonly used for anti-anxiety support. Many people think because it is a plant, there's nothing to worry about. In reality, the mechanism of Valerian is very similar to any other benzodiazepine, such as Valium or Xanax. Valerian can cause anesthesia complications such as respiratory issues. Even simple vitamins can cause issues. Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements can cause blood vessel issues. Marijuana, while becoming increasing accepted and even legal in some states, can potentially cause severe issues if the anesthesiologist isn't aware of your use. It can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure or cause respiratory distress when it is combined with the anesthesia drug cocktail.

Quit Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and routinely drinking alcohol are also contraindicative to surgery. Smoking is associated with a pronounced increase in post-operative complications, including delayed wound healing and infection. While no one should smoke for obvious reasons, a smoker should ideally quit several weeks before undergoing surgery. At the very least, smoking should be stopped 72 hours prior to surgery. Chewing tobacco should not be used, either.

Alcohol is equally as dangerous as smoking when undergoing surgery. Even someone who doesn't drink a lot of alcohol can have delayed healing. Heavy drinkers can also suffer withdrawal symptoms, including seizures. Alcohol usage can also increase the risk on hospital-acquired pneumonia, which is more likely to be bacterial rather than viral. This is not good as most hospital-acquired pneumonia is caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can be very antibiotic resistant. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a very serious condition, and it can be fatal. It is imperative you are completely honest with your doctor about your drinking habits.

Watch What You Eat Prior to Surgery

Researchers have found that a diet low in fat leads to less tissue trauma and quicker recovery. Tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes, all members of the nightshade family of plants, can exacerbate anesthesia complications as well as cause excessive bleeding. Choose foods such as salmon, nuts, spinach, berries, and squash and avoid red meat, dairy, and processed foods.