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What Can Help My Intense Anxiety About Surgery?

What Can Help My Intense Anxiety About Surgery?

If you feel anxious about an upcoming surgery, you’re far from alone. Research shows that some 60-92% of patients experience pre-surgery anxiety. And for more than half of patients, that anxiousness is significant.

These are just some of the reasons that Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is happy to teach his patients proven techniques to feel at ease before their procedures. In this blog, Dr. Hendi explains more about surgical anxiety, including ways our team can help you feel better.

How anxiety can affect health

When you feel anxious, your body responds to the stressor by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. From there, cortisol triggers a range of responses within your body, such as increased blood sugar and altered immune function.

While occasional anxiety is normal and not a cause for alarm, prolonged and severe anxiety can harm your health, making way for:

Many of these issues are a Catch 22 of sorts. If you don’t sleep well, for example, your energy and mood can dip even lower and your blood pressure can increase.

High cortisol levels may also make you more prone to infection. And, over time, cortisol spikes can also play a role in chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease

Helpful techniques for reducing anxiety

At our practice, Dr. Hendi can teach you how to engage in mindful breathing techniques before your procedure. Relaxation practices, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and muscle relaxation, may help ease your nervous system and make you less anxious. 

He can also teach you how to recognize stressful thoughts and retrain your mind to replace fearful thoughts with healthier ones. He’ll also give you insight into how the body responds to anxious thoughts, and how you can address the situation once you notice the signs.

If you notice your heart rate increasing, for example, deep breathing may help calm your circulatory system. This, in turn, may help reduce the flow of cortisol and help you feel more relaxed and peaceful. You may even end up with a better surgical outcome, because the immune system and other bodily systems can function better when not under stress.

Dr. Hendi will also walk you through what to expect during your surgery, which may help soothe your worries about the unknowns. You can also take other steps that may help reduce your anxiety, such as leaning on supportive loved ones, talking with a qualified therapist, and limiting your consumption of stimulants, such as caffeine.

If you have skin cancer surgery coming up and you want to learn more about reducing your anxiety, we can help. To learn more, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.

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