1. You need to exercise
Fitness levels have a huge impact, and there's even evidence that going for a run when we're under the weather may speed recovery. An Australian Get Fit For Surgery study found that getting in shape six weeks before an operation reduces the likelihood of complications by 20 per cent. Regular exercise means heart and lungs work more efficiently, and moving around post surgery boosts blood flow and immune system.
2. Think positive
Studies have shown that being optimistic can speed up your post-surgery recuperation. A positive mental attitude makes you better able to deal with the stress of surgery. In turn this will reduce stress-induced inflammation and levels of the stress hormone cortisol which can weaken the immune system and your ability to deal with pain and fight infection.
3. Lay off the booze
Alcohol puts the liver under stress and could prevent any drugs you are given from being properly absorbed. It can also compromise the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infection. A Danish study found those who indulge in more than two alcoholic drinks a day are 73 per cent more likely to get a post-operative infection than light drinkers.
4. You're overweight
A US study of post-operative recovery rates found that almost half of obese patients suffered some kind of difficulty after surgery compared to just three per cent of those in the ideal weight group. It is harder for a surgeon to operate if they are pushing lots of flesh out of the way, and there is a higher chance of infection.
5. You need more protein
If you're preparing for an operation, you need to raise your dietary intake of protein, which helps the blood circulate fats, hormones, enzymes and vitamins, and is crucial for developing new tissue. An easy way to do so is to include an extra chicken breast or boiled egg in your daily diet. Make sure you consume at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. Vitamin C obtained from these boosts the immune system, increasing recovery rates.
6. Post-viral fatigue
Some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome are believed to be triggered by illness. The main symptoms are persistent mental and physical exhaustion which isn't relieved by sleep or rest and limits your day to day life. More research is needed to determine the precise causes although it is currently classified as a neurological condition which may respond to cognitive behavioural therapy and/or anti-depressants.
7. You're low in iron
Iron is necessary to make haemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen around the body. If your iron stores are depleted, it can delay healing. If you have a condition that makes anaemia likely, such as stomach ulcers or heavy periods, ask your GP for a blood test.
8. Stub out that ciggie
Smoking increases the risk of DVT, breathing difficulties during and after surgery and infection, and impairs healing of bones, skin and wounds. It can even change the way your body processes certain drugs, and damages the immune system, making complications such as pneumonia - which can develop from a common cold - more likely.
9. Sky-high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a factor in post-operative complications such as blood clots and strokes. Medication and lifestyle changes may be necessary. You can also lower it by cutting salt intake to less than 6g a day and drinking fewer caffeinated drinks.
10. It might be something nasty
Hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA can occur after surgery. If a wound becomes infected it could cause redness, swelling, pain and a discharge. Other symptoms include a high temperature, chills, dizziness and confusion. Thankfully, cases have fallen in recent years because of raised awareness.
- Daily Mail