Physical Therapy and Postoperative Cognitive Decline

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Physical Therapy and Postoperative Cognitive Decline

As the population ages and medicine and healthcare advance, more older adults are opting for surgery to treat or manage medical conditions. Unfortunately, many of these patients may develop surgical complications as well as cognitive decline.

Postoperative cognitive decline (POCD) is a commonly experienced issue after surgeries such as cardiovascular, gynecological and abdominal operations. POCD can be debilitating and interfere with daily tasks for those who are older or already have medical conditions.

Age is a major risk factor for cognitive changes after surgery, as it predisposes people to degenerative brain changes that come with age. Other elements that could influence an older person’s postsurgical cognitive functioning include education level, mental health status and existing medical conditions such as obesity, hypertension, heart disease diabetes chronic kidney disease stroke or dementia.

Identification and treatment of these conditions is essential to help reduce postsurgical cognitive dysfunction. Studies have revealed that older adults diagnosed with these disorders before surgery tend to have a much lower risk for developing postsurgical cognitive dysfunction compared to those without these disorders.

POCD is still unclear why it occurs, but there are several possible explanations. One possibility is that surgery may break the blood-brain barrier and cause inflammation in the brain.

Inflammation caused by surgeries can lead to a variety of neurological problems, including cognitive impairment. Fortunately, some of the inflammation caused by surgeries can be avoided with physical therapy and other treatments.

Physical therapy can help to reduce the likelihood of cognitive decline after surgery by encouraging healthy brain function and relieving inflammation. It also has an immense positive impact on patients’ quality of life as well as that of their families.

Physical therapy has many advantages, but not everyone will experience them. Some may experience side effects from the treatment such as nausea or vomiting; if these become severe, you may need to discontinue treatment.

Are you uncertain whether physical therapy is right for you? Ask your doctor! They can give more details on potential side effects and risks associated with treatment.

Additionally, you and your doctor can discuss how best to utilize physical therapy and other treatments so they are effective for you. Physical therapists can teach ways to manage pain after surgery as well as provide advice on keeping your body healthy so as not to experience cognitive decline after undergoing surgery.

Before having surgery, be sure to discuss with your surgeon any medications you are taking and their effects. Prescriptions that cause side effects like drowsiness, dizziness or confusion could increase the possibility of postoperative cognitive decline after the procedure.

The type of anesthesia you receive during surgery will have a major impact on postsurgical cognitive decline. Anesthesiologists are specially trained in monitoring anesthesia depth so they can make necessary adjustments as necessary. Furthermore, EEG machines can be utilized during the procedure to measure how well the brain is working.

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