I underwent quadruple bypass surgery last year on July 24th. During that process I understand I was under anesthesia and in the O.R. for the better part of nine hours. I have always been very active, and had no symptoms of palpitations, arrhythmia, chest pain etc. I recovered fairly quickly from the surgery itself and today a year and 79 days later, I am probably in better shape than I was in my 40's and 50's. I praise the Lord for that and thank Him every day, I am still here and in control of my faculties and have my mobility. I have had a couple of EKG's since then and 3 blood lipid profile tests which are all in the acceptable range. I walk 2 miles plus a day, do 50-75 push ups every other day, some stretching and abdominal crunch exercises etc. In addition I try my best to eat right and take supplements that have been proven to contribute to heart and overall health.
With that as a background, I have experienced a few mood swings and memory problems on and off since my surgery. My oldest daughter recently pointed out to me that these symptoms might have a direct link to the ANESTHESIA administered during surgery. In an article entitled, (ANESTHESIA, things they never taught you at med school...) by G. M Woerlee there is a great deal of research on the effects of surgery and anesthesia on men and women especially during the first few months after surgery. In rare cases the negative results can be long lasting and in some cases perhaps detrimentally permanent. The article mentions that one has to remember you had the surgery done for a reason! In other words, left to your own devices and not taking up an alternative treatment such as that proposed by Dr. Pauling (In the case of heart disease) the end result might be FATAL. That being said, while YES there is a down side to anesthesia, however there MIGHT be in some cases a GREATER down side to refusing surgery.
The article compares open heart surgery especially for people in their 60's to being hit by a TRUCK. In other words to your physical body, the trauma to your body is similar to being hit by a truck. The only difference is that it takes place in a sterile operating room and you end up with nice, neat stitches in your legs and chest and you gain a little titanium wire wrapped around your sternum.
You hopefully end up surviving, the stitches dissolve and after time goes by, are hardly discernible without looking hard. The pain subsides over a few weeks and that too disappears and life returns to normal except for the memory of it.
Speaking of memory........that is what this post is about. The combination of pain killers, prescription drugs and ANESTHESIA effects upon your body can LINGER for weeks and/or months and in rare cases possibly cause permanent damage. The crazy thing to me about this is I do NOT REMEMBER (NO PUN INTENDED!) anyone discussing this with either me or my wife to be on the lookout for any symptoms such as mood swings, subtle personality changes, changes in awareness, perception, reasoning, judgement, possible depression. bouts of anger and other signs of (Post Operative Cognitive Disorder).
Watch for these signs:
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory dysfunction - inability to remember things recently said or done (Losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence)
- Reduced ability to perform arithmetic, or making mistakes with simple money transactions while shopping etc.
The thing to remember from all of this is that research shows a SIGNIFICANT proportion of people undergoing an operation have some degree of POCD either for a short time or perhaps several months.
Another point is that it does not occur from just MAJOR SURGERY such as 7 to 9 hours in the O.R. for heart surgery. It can and apparently does manifest itself for a 45 min hernia operation, or a gall bladder operation, or even a routine colonoscopy or any procedure where anesthesia is administered.
On a different note, here is a list of steps you can take and some natural supplements that have been proven to an extent to counteract the harmful effects of Anesthesia:
- Drink lots of pure water following an operation...don't just drink when you feel thirsty - stay hydrated
- Take a HIGH Potency Multivitamin/Mineral formula (Recommended that it contain 25,000 IU beta carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, ALL of the B-vitamins, and especially thiamine, B-6, folate, and B-12 and key minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium.
- Take MILK THISTLE helps to cleanse the liver and prevents depletion of glutathione (recommended 70 mg 3X daily minimum)
- (Be Careful of milk thistle if you are allergic to plants of the ragweed family or have a history of hormone related cancer, such as breast, uterine or prostate as milk thistle can affect hormone levels)
- Take (Lipotrophic Formulas) / those that are rich in choline and methionine
In closing I am NOT giving any medical advice and have NO formal training in the medical field and I DO NOT RECEIVE ANY REMUNERATION FOR THE SALE OR PURCHASE BY ANYONE OF ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS.
Check for any interactions with pain killers or blood thinners or any temporary prescriptions you are put on as a result of surgery. NOT everyone suffers from the effects of anesthesia. The more times you undergo anesthesia and the older you are and the longer you are under its effects, the greater the chance you may suffer some of the above symptoms. This is for informative purposes only.
(THE possible supplements came from an article by (Rebeccas Shannonhouse) who is the Editor of Bottom Line Health and was entitled "How To Detox From Anesthesia)