Cardiovascular System, Circulatory System, Digestive System, Ears, Nose and Throat, Healthy Living, Immune System, Muscular System, Nervous System, Reproductive System, Urinary System

What to Do If You Just Had a Surgery?

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Surgeries & Procedures

These past 2 months I’ve had a number of people ask me about what to do after a surgery so I’ve decided to post a blog to help others who might have similar questions that they asked.

Before I start, though, let me be clear that I am going to discuss uncomplicated surgeries like, appendectomy, excision, incision and drainage, mastectomy, biopsy, endoscopy and the like, but not limited to these. If you’re asking if a cesarean section is considered uncomplicated, the answer is – it depends. Childbirth in itself, no matter how painful the mechanism is, is considered a normal process. A good question though, is what the reason was for a cesarean procedure and how the delivery process took place, and then we can decide whether it is an uncomplicated or a complicated one. I will talk more about labor and delivery in a separate post in the future.

Now back to surgery – first of all, it will be the safest to ask your doctor if there is any ongoing or possible complication on your case. Some of the most common complications to consider include: site or wound infection, fever, embolism (lodging of a blood clot, air bubble or foreign material in the bloodstream) or worse collapsed lungs, and many others.

If it’s been determined that you have a complicated case, then the principles I will discuss may or may not not be appropriate for you.

What to Expect After Surgery:

First 24 Hours

Pain
The first 24 hours will depend on your tolerance to pain. Normally, people just sleep over this stage for the most part, but some people experience the pain sooner than expected. No worries though because you will be given pre-scheduled pain relievers during this period.

Diet
A “nothing by mouth” policy is strictly implemented to avoid sucking of food into the airway, and to wait for the digestive function to return to normal.

Activity
You will be placed flat on bed during the first few hours after surgery, and then will be turned from side to side with help after a few hours to promote blood circulation.

After 24 Hours

Pain
Here is usually the difficult part because the effects of anesthesia will begin to wear off; so be ready for moderate to severe pain. Again, pain sensation differs from person to person depending on an individual’s tolerance and threshold. Pain relievers are still on regular schedule. Your nurse or healthcare provider will be your best friend during this time.

Diet
Your diet regimen will start slowly from sips of water, liquid diet, soft diet before you return to full diet. You may find it weird whenever your nurse or healthcare provider asks you “Have you farted yet?” Surprisingly, your precious gas determines how soon your diet plan will return back to normal. Reason is, this signals the return of your bowel function.

Activity
READ THIS CAREFULLY. Contrary to common myths that you have to stay longer in bed to prevent your stitches to tear off; you actually need to ambulate early because it promotes blood circulation, and therefore, speeds up healing. But mind you, you cannot do this in haste or you might experience what is called spinal headache, dizziness or vomiting.

Ambulate by moving your arms and legs and then when you’re comfortable with it, move from side to side. After a while, add more pillows to your head to raise it up, and then move to the side of your bed to sit up and dangle your legs. Finally, try a few steps to your side chair and then your first trip to the bathroom. When you are able to do this without any symptoms of headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, then you are good to go.

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Early ambulation speeds up your healing.

Discharge Plan:

Medication
Be sure to follow your prescription up to the last dose especially your antibiotics because this will prevent infection. Pain relievers may now be taken as needed, meaning when in moderate to severe pain, take it. If it’s tolerable, you may just need a distraction.

Diet
Diet is usually as tolerated, but I suggest you take more proteins because this is important for body and organ repair and recovery. Have more fruits and vegetables too for additional boost on your immune system, plus it eases up your bowel movement. You may also take your nutritional supplements to feed your cells.

Activity
Just like your diet, activity needs to be slowed down. You can return to your activities of daily living like bathing and grooming, office working, and non-straining house chores like cooking and washing light dishes. Avoid heavy tasks like doing the laundry or lifting heavy objects like your big pans and pots; have someone do it for you.

Special Note on Fever after Surgery

Rule of Thumb: Fever within 24 hours is usually normal; it’s your body telling you it is adjusting to the trauma after the surgery. If the fever shows up after 24 hours, you have to inform your doctor because it might be a sign of an infection setting in.

We’ve covered the most part and if you make it to the second week without any problem, then you are on your way towards full recovery.

Signs of Complication:
Watch out for the following and report it immediately to your doctor or healthcare provider:

1. Fever after 24 hours.
2. Increasing pain around the surgical area.
3. Swelling that does not subside.
4. Red discoloration around the surgical site.
5. Surgical site warm to the touch.
6. Presence of discharges around the surgical site.

Media Credits:
Surgery & Procedures: http://www.estermaneye.com/services/surgery-procedures/
WebMD: http://www.webmd.com

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Cardiovascular System, Circulatory System, Digestive System, Nervous System

Why Health Officials Are Concerned About Energy Drinks

Too much energy drink consumption is unhealthy, and if you mix it with alcohol it can be deadly. Something to seriously consider. irmz

TIME

The energy drink market is booming, but that’s not necessarily a good thing when it comes to public health, says the World Health Organization’s regional office for Europe.

In a new report in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, João Breda, who works in the division of noncommunicable diseases at WHO Europe, and his colleagues reviewed data on the health risks of energy drinks and the current policies that regulate them. They concluded that health concerns from the scientific and medical community are valid, and that consuming high levels of caffeine very quickly can cause negative health effects or “caffeine intoxication.” Those effects can include nausea, high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Some deaths have even been linked to energy drink consumption, like that of a 16-year-old girl who went into cardiac arrest after drinking the beverages, but none have been definitively proven.

MORE: What’s In Your Energy…

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Cardiovascular System, Circulatory System, Nervous System

Stroke Series: Maintain Your Blood Pressure

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Measure Monitor Maintain your BP

The season changes, unpredictable weather and extreme temperatures are potential danger signals for people with high blood pressure (BP). If this is not addressed properly, the risk of a stroke becomes very high.

Here are some tips on how to maintain your blood pressure to normal range:

Never miss on your maintenance meds. It is wrong to think that when your BP is okay you can stop your medications. The reason it is normal is because of the drugs you are taking daily. You can only stop when your doctor tells you to do so.

Cut down on monosodium glutamate (MSG). Sodium attracts water into the bloodstream and too much blood volume increases pressure on the blood vessel tubes. MSG can be found on your favourite chips, pizza or seasonings, so do limit on these or better yet remove them from your diet.

Maintain your sugar level. Too much sugar in the blood as in the case of diabetic people makes the blood thicker making passage more difficult, thereby increasing the blood pressure. I will have a separate blog on diabetes, so watch out for this.

atnurse
Ways to Maintain Your BP

Stop smoking. Nicotine hardens and makes the blood vessels brittle. When they do become hardened they are unable to adjust rapidly to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Hot weather causes the blood vessels to dilate and cold temperatures cause it to constrict. Both results in a sudden shift in the blood pressure and for people with hardened tubes, it may end up in a blood pressure shoot up that can end in a stroke.

Lower down your cholesterol level. Increase your Hdl (good cholesterol) and decrease Ldl (bad cholesterol). Cholesterol build-up in the arteries may completely or partially block the blood flow, therefore depleting the Oxygen supply in your body including the brain.

Have more color on your plate. More color means more fruits and vegetables, plus add more bulk from wheat and grains. Other than it gives you good sources of vitamins and minerals, it also helps reduce your cholesterol level.

Take good care of your kidneys. A good kidney gets rid of all your body wastes, if they are not, the accumulated system by-products in the bloodstream cause the increase in your blood pressure.

Limit if not avoid your alcohol intake. Alcohol causes damage to the liver and the kidneys, and once they are damaged they can no longer do their function of cleaning up your system.

Do regular exercise. It helps to improve your heart function and to burn excess calories on your diet.

Maintain your ideal weight. Maintaining your ideal weight is one of the ways you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, practice good eating habits and get rid of the excess fats.

Manage your stress and have enough sleep. Stress as we all know is one of the culprits in most diseases including high blood pressure. It unnecessarily releases high levels of cortisol and epinephrine in the blood stream, which causes the blood pressure to shoot up.

Important Note: Blood pressure that is considered normal is 120/80 mmHg. However, this changes with age, so it is important to have yours monitored daily so you know your normal range.

atnurse
Blood Pressure Marker

Media Files:

Maintain your blood pressure: http://www.healthykskids.org/2014/09/03/6-ways-to-reduce-your-blood-pressure/
Measure, Monitor, Maintain: http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-today/national-high-blood-pressure-education-month.html#.VCoi9VeVpyB

Nervous System

Your Smile Can Tell if You are Suffering from Stroke

atnurse
Are you suffering from Stroke?

In the past several years as a nurse, I have witnessed many people become devastated from losing a loved one to stroke. I myself lost a dear friend who was then only 37 due to this deadly disease. Still another friend has been enduring the after effects of her husband’s stroke attack for more than a year now.

There is no way of knowing when this thief will visit your doorstep, but there are ways you can recognize the sudden threats of this unforeseen danger. I am sharing this post in the hope of helping you save a loved one.

What is a Stroke?

“A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.”

When a blood clot blocks the Oxygen supply to the brain it is called “Ischemic Stroke”. When a blood vessel breaks and bleeds inside the brain it is called “Hemorrhagic Stroke”. There is also a case called “Transient Ischemic Attack” or “mini-stroke” where symptoms of stroke appear in or within 24 hours then disappears.

What are the Symptoms of Stroke and What to do in an Emergency?

Stroke symptoms include:
Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Stroke organizations have created a FAST way to recognize a victim of stroke and what actions need to be taken. A simple smile can tell you if they are suffering from a stroke.

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Act FAST

Important: If you notice any of these signs above, immediately bring the victim to the nearest “TERTIARY” hospital. The brain can only survive for 2-3 minutes without Oxygen without having serious irreversible damage. This varies from person to person though, but the safest is to get help within the “golden window” of 10 minutes to minimize permanent damage.

What are the Risk Factors for Stroke?

Controllable Risk Factors:
High Blood Pressure
Atrial Fibrillation (Abnormal heart beat)
High Cholesterol
Diabetes
Atherosclerosis (Fat build up in the arteries)
Circulation Problems (e.g. Anemia, blood thickening)
Smoking
Alcohol Use
Physical Inactivity
Obesity

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:
Age
Gender
Race
Family History
Previous Stroke
Fibromuscular Dysplasia (Narrowed Arteries)
Patent Foramen Ovale (Hole in the Heart)

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Stroke Scorecard

There is no way we can ascertain that by doing these things we are immune to this disease, but there is one more thing that we can do to make our short stay in this world significant. We can be assured of eternal life if today we decide to have a relationship with Jesus and choose to follow Him.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Resources:

What is a Stroke: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=stroke
Symptoms of Stroke: http://www.dmhcares.org/services/BrainStroke/signs.aspx
Stroke Scorecard: http://www.stroke.org/site/DocServer/scorecard_risk.pdf?docID=601
Media File Credit: http://www.examiner.com/article/ucla-stroke-center-wins-prestigious-award