Optimizing Health For Surgery
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Optimizing Health For Surgery
By Dr. Ashley Girard ND
The vast majority of us go under the knife at some point in our lives to treat a health concern. Over half a million surgeries are done in Canada each year and it can be a nerve-racking experience. It is important to bring your “A game” health wise in order to prevent any complications. The healing process after surgery can slow down if you have nutritional deficiencies cause by a poor diet and lifestyle, inadequate sleep, high stress levels, chronic illnesses, digestive issues and elevated inflammation just to name a few. The longer it takes to heal, the more complications occur like wound infections, hemorrhage, clotting, post-surgical pain, and loss of function caused by excessive scar tissue. Each person has a different terrain to consider when heading into surgery, and this can be assessed and optimized by a Naturopathic Doctor.
Some aspects to assess prior to surgery are:
- Proper amounts of protein before and after surgery. Having the correct amounts of protein in your diet before and after surgery is incredibly important for reducing healing time and lowering the risk of complications.
- Improving vitamin D3 levels in advance. Many studies have shown patients with vitamin D3 deficiencies are at a higher risk of complications. The only way to know your levels for sure is to be tested.
- Education on which foods will give you the right micro-nutrients in order to improve immune function , and/or consider which nutritional support formulas will optimize levels best.
- Managing and reducing stress hormone before surgery. Stress hormone suppresses the immune system and if it is too high you increase your healing time.
- Strengthening the digestive system to ensure that you are getting the most out of the foods you eat. This is especially important if you are taking acid suppressant medication because these impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- Learn about other pain management techniques while healing to decrease the need for potentially harmful and addictive medications.
- Discuss the benefits of probiotic use after your surgery. Surgery requires a specific amount, timing and type of probiotic to prevent certain complications post op.
- Address any sleep issues in advance of surgery. 40% of your healing occurs when you sleep and this is important when recovering from surgery.
There is much to consider and every patients is unique requiring an individualized approach. If you have any questions before going under the knife, it may be time to book in with your local Naturopath!
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