COSMETIC SURGERY AND YOUR LIFESTYLE|
It's a great feeling to wake up in the morning refreshed and filled with energy, both physically and mentally. You're at your best, and almost anything seems possible!
We often take for granted feeling good, especially when we're young. Our bodies seem to function quite well with little attention to taking proper care of them. But eventually we may reach a point where we don't feel as good as we want to. That's because maintaining our health and appearance requires a certain amount of effort.
Our daily lifestyle - what we do to maintain ourselves on a regular basis - plays a large role in how we look and feel.
Good nutrition, regular exercise, avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol, sun protection and adequate sleep are among the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Modern science also has provided us with new ways to look better and feel better throughout our lives. One of these is cosmetic plastic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery can help your outward appearance to better reflect how you feel inside. It can enhance the way you view yourself, as well as refine the image you present to the world. It can help you to "manage" the aging process. Even more important, daily habits that promote good health can work together with cosmetic surgery to enhance your total life quality.
Lifestyle factors can have a significant effect on whether you are a suitable candidate for cosmetic surgery and on the quality and longevity of surgical results.
The lifestyle choices you make today are among the most important choices you will ever make. That's why the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and its members have developed this brochure with straightforward and simple advice on healthier living.
Whether you need to get in better shape before cosmetic surgery or you've already had surgery and want to maintain your results, following these basic guidelines should help. In the process, you may discover that adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier than you thought and makes a positive difference in your life.
ASSESSING YOUR LIFESTYLE
Your cosmetic plastic surgeon is not only an expert in surgical enhancement and rejuventaion but also a physician who cares about your health. That's why a discussion of your medical history and lifestyle is a part of every cosmetic surgery consultation.
In addition to a discussion of your past or current medical conditions and whether you take any prescription medications, lifestyle factors that may be assessed during your consultation include:
- Current weight and history of weight fluctuation
- Nutrition and vitamin supplements
- Exercise frequency and type (aerobic/non-aerobic)
- Smoking habits and exposure to secondhand smoke
- Alcohol consumption
- Sun exposure
- Sleep patterns
- Stress level and coping mechanisms
The purpose of your lifestyle assessment is twofold: First, your plastic surgeon needs to know about your health history and habits to determine whether there are any factors that may influence your surgery and recovery. Second, it is important for your plastic surgeon to consider your goals for surgery in the context of your general lifestyle and then help you develop realistic expectations.
YOUR WEIGHT AND YOUR HEALTH
Current scientific evidence suggests that calorie restriction is associated with a longer and healthier life. Physicians use the body mass index (BMI), a standard measure based on your weight relative to your height, as a basic indicator of wether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, while a BMI of 30 or above is obese.
You can calculate your BMI using this formula: BMI = your weight in pounds divided by (your height in inches x your height in inches) x 703. While there are limitations to the accuracy and usefulness of the BMI, it can provide the starting point for a more thorough evaluation of your body fat and corresponding risk factors for obesity-associated diseases.
Weight is also a key consideration in evaluating patients for cosmetic surgery. If you are overweight or obese, the potential risks associated with surgery and anesthesia are likely to be greater. In some cases, your plastic surgeon may recommend postponing surgery or take extra precautions such as arranging an overnight stay for you in the hospital.
If you lose a signifigant amount of weight, it is usually advisible to do so before undergoing cosmetic surgery. losing weight after surgery could result in loose skin or altered body proportions that affect your surgical results. If you have tried and failed to lose weight, talk to your plastic surgeon. He or she may be able to recommend a weight loss program or refer you to a professional specializing in weight management. Certain individuals may have trouble losing weight because of genetic factors. For some people, when all other methods of weight reduction have failed, weight-loss surgery may be an alternative.
Remember that when it comes to exercise, anything you do is better than doing nothing at all.
Many of us approach the idea of exercise with a certain amount of dread. Yet, once we begin to exercise, we find that it is stimulating and even fun. The benefits of exercise are significant and include strengthening and toning the body, boosting metabolism, lowering weight, reducing stress, and prolonging youthfulness.
Exercise trends, like diet fads, seem to go in and out of style depending on the latest book or celebrity fitness guru. For most people, a mix of aerobic activities (that increase your heart rate) and non-aerobic activities (that increase your strength and flexibility) is essential to physical fitness.
For most adults, setting aside 30 minutes a day for exercise is a healthy routine. You can even skip a couple of days a week and still maintain the benefits. No exercise program should be undertaken without first consulting your personal physician.
If you can't find time or energy for regular exercise, you can at least try to increase your general activity level at work or at home. For example, you can:
- Walk or bike to work or to the store
- Take stairs instead of elevators
- Get up frequently from your desk or couch to stretch or walk
- Plant a garden or pull weeds
- Do household chores that require bending and lifting
- Walk your dog
- Visit a park or museum
There is no way to avoid stress. Some people even enjoy a certain kind of stress that they may experience as an "adrenaline surge." However, stress that makes you feel overwhelmed and out of control is neither pleasant nor healthy. Stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, stomache upset, sleep problems, high blood pressure and heart palpitations.
Part of an approach to successful stress management may be as simple as allocating your time more efficiently. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle is probably the most important step you can take. Proper diet and regular exercise, including stretching and deep breathing, will help you strengthen your body and reduce tension on a daily basis.
Many people are sleep deprived and not aware of it. The consequences of not getting enough sleep can range from mild symptoms such as imapired judgement and reaction time to major health concerns including an increased risk for obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
How much sleep you need can depend on individual genetics, your age, your daily activities, and both the quality and timing of your sleep. Sleep experts say that 7 to 8 hours a night seems to be a healthy amount of sleep for adults of any age. However, sleep problems such as insomnia tend to become more common as we get older. You may need to "catch up" with extra hours of sleep if you have gone through a period of sleep deprivation. Since getting adequate sleep is so important to your health, try to practice these good sleeping habits:
NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTS
- Go to bed at about the same time each night, if possible
- Exercise regularly, but avoid strenuous exercise within a few hours of bedtime
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine within a few hours of bedtime
- When trying to fall asleep, don't allow yourself to worry or become frustrated
- If you can't sleep, leave the bedroom adn busy yourself by some quiet activity such as reading, watching TV or listening to music; when you become drowsy, return to bed
There are different views on what constitutes a proper diet as well as what relative proportions of protiens, carbohydrates and fat promote optimal health and weight management. As an example, the American Cancer Society recommends dietary guidelines including:
Dietary regimens and restriction should be based on solid scientific evidence but also must take into consideration your individual food and lifestyle preferences. A well-balanced diet generally should supply the nutrients you need for good health: however, a multivitamin and mineral supplement is often required to ensure that you obtain sufficient quantities of essential nutrients every day. Consultation with a qualified nutritionist, recommended by your plastic surgeon or personal physician, can aslo be helpful in pinpointing special nutritional needs based on individual factors.
- At least 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains instead of processed grains and sugars
- Reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products
- Minimal consumption of high-fat meats and baked goods
- Minimal consumption of butter, margarine, mayonnaise, oils and fried foods
An adequately nourished body is better able to handle the stress of surgery and recovery. However, some vitamins can cause excessive bleeding during surgery, and specific herbal preparations have been shown to dangerously interact with anesthetics. That's why you will likely be instructed to discontinue certain vitamin and herbal supplements, as well as any asprin-like products and perhaps even some foods, for a period before and after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will advise you when it is safe to resume your normal dietary routine.
Various researchers have studied the health risks and possible benefits of alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking is known to damage the liver and pancreas and is associated with various cancers, high blood pressure and certain psychiatric disorders. There is no general agreement, however, on the effects of light to moderate drinking. Some studies have suggested that light to moderate alcohol consumption may have heart protective and other positive health benefits, while other research has disagreed with this finding.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define moderate drinking for a woman as 1 drink or less per day, while moderate drinking for a man is 2 drinks or less per day. A standard drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Can you drink alcohol and still maintain a healthy lifestyle? Scientific research has not established that light to moderate drinking can improve your health. If you choose to drink, moderate alcohol consumption appears to not pose a significant health concern. There are of course, some people who should not drink at all, including:
- Children and adolescents
- Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant
- People on certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs that can interact with alcohol
- People who must drive, operate equipment or engage in other activities requiring attention, skill and coordination
- People who cannot control their drinking behaviors
SMOKING AND SECONDHAND SMOKE
Research has shown that people who quit smoking experience immediate health benefits and a reduction in long-term health risks compared to continuing smokers. Smokers, on the other hand, shorten their lives and often suffer with cronic diseases that reduce their quality of life. Common and deadly health problems linked with smoking include cancer, heart disease, emphysema and stroke. Smoking promotes premature aging of the skin and often etches deep vertical wrinkles above the lips from constant puffing on a cigarette.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but patients often seem surprised to learn that smoking may also make you a poor candidate for cosmetic surgery. Smokers have increased risks associated with both sedation and general anesthesia. Smoking decreases the blood supply to the skin and deeper tissues so that wound healing following surgery may be impared. Significant exposure to secondhand smoke can have the same or similar effects.
If you are a smoker, in some cases, your plastic surgeon may feel that performing surgery is not advisable. Alternatively, you may be instructed to stop smoking for a period before and after your surgery. Your surgeon undoubtedly will encourage you to take this opportunity to permanently break your smoking habit. Doing so is one of the most important steps you can take in adopting a healthier lifestyle.
SUN AND YOUR SKIN
Plastic surgeons on a daily basis see the damaging effects of sun exposure. The most serious form of these is melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, primarily basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, also have serious consequences, though the cure rate for these cancers is extraordinarily high when they are detected and treated early.
People even as young as thier 20s can have premature aging of the skin due to sunbathing, tanning parlors or other exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. This type of skin damage is called "photoaging", and the early signs include freckling, fine wrinkling and dilation, or enlargement, of the small blood vessels. In later years, in addition to further wrinkling, the skin may develop irregular pigmentation, or so-called "liver spots". Skin thickening and loss of elasticity from sun damage can make cosmetic plastic surgery more difficult. When the skin is inelastic, it does not respond as well to surgical procedures that involve tightening or recontouring of the tissues. Fortunately, modern techniques of skin resurfacing can effectively reduce many of the visible signs of sun damage, but they cannot totally reverse all the unhealthy effect of years of UV exposure.
Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays damage the skin. However, UVB is primarily responsible for sunburn and skin cancer. The first defense against harmful UV rays is an advanced-formula, broad-sprectrum (protection from both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
Be sure to protect your lips, also, with an appropriate lipscreen product. Depending on the ingredients, sunscreens can physically block out UV rays, or they can absorb the harmful rays. Sunscreen protection is necessary all year round and even on hazy days. For effective and continuous coverage, be sure to apply products according to the manufacture's recommendations.
When spending time in the sun, a wide-brimmed hat is essential gear. Wear tightly woven clothing that shields your arms and legs. Wraparound sunglasses with UV ray protection can help avoid sun-related eye damage such as cataracts and macular degeneration (deterioration of the retina). Remember, tanning is not healthy for you or your skin. When possible, relax in the shade.
It's never too late, or too soon, to "upgrade" to a healthier lifestyle. Although many advantages of healthy living occur slowly over time, you can also enjoy immediate benefits. Improving yor diet and nutrition, exercising and getting plenty of sleep should produce noticeable results within a relatively short time.
Cosmetic plastic surgery also offers you the option of looking and feeling better. If you decide that cosmetic surgery is a good choice for you, the results of your surgery can encourage you to continue making other positive changes in your life.
Regardless of your age, your cosmetic plastic surgeon can help you choose safe and effective pathways to looking good and managing the aging process. When you select a board-certified plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), you are in the hands of a professional who cares about the way you look and the way you live.