Obesity Increases Risk of Anesthesia

Obesity has long been associated with sleep apnea. But doctors are saying that even during weight loss surgery, obesity can make “going under” risky.

As if obese people don’t have enough obstacles: Another one they may face is undergoing anesthesia in a safe way.

A new national campaign warns that being overweight or obese may affect how your body responds to “going under.”

The American Society of Anesthesiologists has launched a new campaign to make potential surgery patients, especially obese patients, aware of what can go wrong when asleep during an operation. Some obese people who undergo surgery, even if it’s weight loss surgery, can still suffer from the sleep apnea symptoms that obstruct their airways and make breathing difficult.

Of course, during surgery, medical staff can provide breathing tubes, but this may require special equipment or techniques. And so anesthesiologists often have to be ready for this and even have to warn certain patients about complications that may arise. In rare cases, patients who are morbidly obese and already suffer from sleep apnea are actually ordered to lose some weight before they are allowed to even undergo weight loss surgery.

And so, as part of the campaign, the American Society of Anesthesiologists urges obese people to request a thorough physical exam prior to undergoing any surgery that involves anesthesia.

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