Getting ready for your surgery

People often try and be as healthy as they can before their surgery, so they get better more quickly. Some health conditions can affect your surgery, the outcome of your surgery and how long it takes you to recover afterwards.

Find out what you can do to help yourself here.

How can I check my blood pressure?

This test shows how hard your heart is pumping to move blood through your body.

People over the age of 40 should try and get their blood pressure checked if they have not in the last year. There are millions of people in England who have high blood pressure, but they don’t know it. High blood pressure can cause heart attacks (when the supply of blood to the heart is blocked) and strokes (when the blood flow to the brain stops).

Blood pressure that is not healthy may lead to your surgery being cancelled or delayed. But checking your blood pressure can help you to get the right care and advice to support you.

Your GP surgery or pharmacy can show you how to get your blood pressure checked. Or you can measure your blood pressure at home with your own monitor. Your GP or pharmacy can help you understand what your readings mean, and you can send in your readings if you are worried about them. Your practice website may also have information on how you can send your readings to your GP. 

How do I reduce my risk of heart disease and strokes?

Heart disease is a group of problems when the heart isn’t working the way it should, whereas a stroke is when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

There are lots of things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. If you’re over 40, you may have had an NHS Health Check, which helps you to reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. If you haven’t had an NHS Health Check in the last five years, you can book one.

You can also look at how healthy your heart is using this online calculator. This will show you how you could reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

How do I check my risk of type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses its main source of fuel.

Diabetes can cause problems following your surgery, such as slower healing. People with type 2 diabetes don’t always have obvious symptoms. Hundreds of thousands of people in England may have type 2 diabetes without knowing. You can check your risk of type 2 diabetes on the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk Tool. If you’re at higher risk, you should contact your GP practice for a blood test.

If you don’t have type 2 diabetes, you can still use NHS Healthier You to make changes to how you live. This includes eating healthily and moving more to get to a healthier weight, which will help to get you fitter for surgery.

How do I check my Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.

If your weight is above the healthy range, losing weight can help reduce the stress on your heart and lungs. It can also help to reduce pain in your joints, your risk of blood clots after surgery, your risk of wound infections after surgery, and help you to move more. Check your BMI.

How do I check my pulse?

If your heart is beating too fast or too slow your surgery might be delayed. A way to see if your heart is beating too fast or too slow is by checking your pulse. Learn how to check your pulse. You can also have a pulse check as part of an NHS Health Check.

What should I do if I have any other long-term conditions or am worried about a long-term condition?

If you have any other long-term conditions, or are worried about a long-term condition, you can contact your GP to book a health check-up or talk about your concerns. If you have conditions such as asthma, heart failure and diabetes your GP should review you at least once a year. This will help to make sure you are fit and well for surgery.