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Preparing for Surgery

It's normal to feel a little anxious before an operation. One of the best things you can do to improve your peace of mind and be sure that it all goes smoothly, is to make sure that your health is as good as possible beforehand.

You wouldn't run a marathon without training first and preparing for surgery is no different. Surgery can take a huge toll on your body but the fitter you are before you go in, the quicker you will recover.

 

Exercise

The healthier your heart and lungs are before surgery, the safer it will be and the quicker you'll recover. There are plenty of programmes out there that will help you to get fitter and feel well.

Other conditions

You may have other long-term medical problems that you have been managing, like issues with blood pressure, heart or lung problems, diabetes or anaemia.

In the run up to surgery it is important that these are appropriately controlled. Talk to your GP or nurse if you feel that you could benefit from any extra help in managing the condition.

You can also book in for a general health check at your surgery if you're over 40.

Diet

Eating a healthy diet will help you get fit and recover quicker after surgery. Being a healthy weight also reduces your risk of blood clots and wound infections afterwards.

The more overweight you are, the more stress there is on your heart and lungs during the process.

If you need to lose weight, you can use the NHS 12-week diet plan:

www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/.

You GP may also be able to offer you free Weight Watchers (www.weightwatchers.co.uk) or other weight loss programmes.

Mental Health

It's natural to feel anxious in the run up to a surgical procedure and sometimes the burden of being unwell can lead to low mood, depression and anxiety disorders.

Being prepared mentally is as important as being prepared physically. If you feel you may need help with your mental health, contact your GP, or visit one of our online mental health directories for local groups and support:

Mental health (NE Hampshire & Farnham): www.northeasthampshireandfarnhamccg.nhs.uk/your-health-matters/long-term-conditions/mental-health

Depression/Anxiety: www.northeasthampshireandfarnhamccg.nhs.uk/your-health-matters/long-term-conditions/depression-and-anxiety

Alcohol

Alcohol is extremely high in calories, so drinking a lot will make it much harder to reach or maintain a healthy weight. In addition, alcohol can reduce the liver's ability to produce the building blocks necessary for healing, which will slow your recovery after surgery.

Visit www.drinkaware.co.uk for help and advice.

Smoking

Cutting down or reducing the amount you smoke before surgery has been shown to speed up the healing process and reduce the amount of time you need to stay in hospital after an operation.

Visit www.smokefree.gov or www.quit4life.nhs.uk for support in giving up.