Skip to Content

Menu Icon
Menu
Menu Icon

Anesthesia: Health Risks

Topic Overview

As part of preparing for a medical procedure requiring anesthesia, you will have an exam to check on your health and to identify any health risks that may affect your anesthesia care. Tell your anesthesia specialist about your health history, including any other surgeries you have had and any health problems.

Be sure to tell the specialist if you are pregnant, if you smoke, or if you have alcohol or drug problems. Also let him or her know if you or a family member have had past problems with anesthesia.

Prepare a list of all medicines that you take on a regular basis or have taken recently, including the dose. Be sure to include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and/or herbal products.

Your anesthesia specialist will identify conditions you have that could affect your anesthesia care. He or she will closely watch your vital body functions to reduce potential complications.

Some medical problems may increase your risk of complications when you are receiving anesthesia. These include:

  • Heart and cardiovascular problems such as angina, a previous heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, or valvular heart disease.
  • Neurological problems such as a stroke or seizures.
  • Lung problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).
  • Airway abnormalities.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Neuromuscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy.
  • Liver disease.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology
Last Revised September 4, 2013

Last Revised: September 4, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.