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Mindful Health®

Recover from Surgery the Right Way

November 8, 2017

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that 15 million Americans undergo surgery every year. Preparing for the surgery can be a daunting task, but the worry doesn’t end there. To ensure that the surgery is a success having a healthy recovery is key. Unfortunately, for many Americans this is easier said than done. Why? Because most Americans are either under or overweight prior to surgery and after surgery, receive poor post-op care.

According to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 63.1 percent of adult Americans are overweight. Dole Nutrition Institute says that those who are obese and recovering from surgery are at risk of suffering complications. The Washington University School of Medicine reports that obese patients are 2.2 times more likely to suffer from infections.

Obese patients are not the only ones at risk. Two percent of our population is underweight, which may cause post-surgery complications. An Archives of Surgery study shows that those with a lower body weight are 40 percent more likely to die within 30 days of their operation. Why? The researchers found that underweight patients are more likely to have a weakened immune system which may prevent them from healing properly.

So, if you or someone you know is recuperating from a surgery here are some mindful tips to help ensure a safe, healthy recovery:

  1. Support systems. Having caring people around you as you recover is essential.They’ll help keep your spirits up as well as help with activities that you temporarily can’t perform. Make sure to tell them how grateful you are.
  2. Have supplies. To ensure that you rest after surgery, make sure your supplies are ready before the operation. You’ll need food stocked in your fridge. You may want reading materials and other forms of entertainment near you bed. You may also want bandages and other first aid supplies.
  3. Prepare for pain. You may experience pain and discomfort after the surgery. So, it’s best to wear comfy clothes after the operation. Ask your doctor what kind of medication you can take for the pain and whether they recommend any other pain relieving solutions like heating pads.
  4. Infections and Medications. Hygiene after surgery is important. Remember to wash your hands often and ask your doctor about proper cleaning procedures for the operated area. Also, make sure to discuss any medications you’ll be taking with your doctor.
  5. Get in the best physical condition for surgery. Follow your doctor’s recommendations (if you do not require immediate surgical procedure) on diet and exercise. You may have to loose or gain weight to be in the optimal physical condition for surgery. Don’t slack off! Your life is at stake.

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