The short answer is no, you can’t die from anesthesia. If you do, see your doctor immediately.
Anesthesia is often used for minor procedures, but it can also be used for more invasive surgeries. The most common reasons that people die from anesthesia are:
- Not receiving enough anesthesia
- Not enough anesthetic
- Not breathing
Keep reading to learn more about anesthesia-related deaths.
What is anesthetic?
Anesthesia is an effective way to keep you from feeling pain. It’s a type of drug that blocks pain signals from reaching your brain.
People are usually sedated during surgery. You’ll be awake and your eyes will be covered. During surgery, a surgeon will put a tube or a needle into your body to take blood samples or give you medicines.
Anesthetic medicines work quickly to block pain signals so you can be put under general anesthesia. This can keep you from feeling pain after the operation.
What happens if you overdose on anesthesia?
An overdose of anesthesia is rare. But if you do overdose on it, you could lose consciousness and be unable to breathe. You could also have cardiac arrest and die.
An overdose of anesthesia might result in:
- Confusion and hallucinations
- Loss of consciousness
- Inability to breathe
- Rapid breathing
- Seizure activity
- Irregular heartbeats
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
The overdose of anesthesia can cause your body to go into shock. This can be life-threatening.
How to stay safe while under anesthesia?
Here are some tips to stay safe and prevent overdose of anesthesia:
- Talk to your doctor about any other medicines you take.
- Ask about any allergies you have.
- Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Tell your doctor about any health conditions you have.
- Take all medicines exactly as told.
- Don’t eat or drink anything before the surgery.
- Keep the area around your surgery area clean.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol before the surgery.
- Don’t drive or operate machinery after the surgery.
- Don’t eat or drink anything unless your doctor tells you to.
What are the symptoms of an overdose of anesthesia?
Symptoms of an overdose of anesthesia can vary from mild to severe.
Seizures can be a sign of an overdose of anesthesia. You might have:
- The feeling of an electrical current passing through your body
- Shaking or jerking
- The feeling of movement or change of consciousness
- The feeling of a seizure coming on
Confusion and hallucinations
Confusion and hallucinations can occur from an overdose of anesthesia. These might include:
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t real
- Hearing voices or talking
- Feeling like you’re in a dream or a nightmare
- Feeling like you’re going to die
Loss of consciousness and breathing
Loss of consciousness and breathing can be signs of an overdose of anesthesia. These might include:
- Feeling as if you’re going to pass out
- Not being able to breathe
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling like you’re going to faint
- Not being able to talk
You may have these symptoms if you don’t receive enough anesthetic.
Weakness can be a sign of an overdose of anesthesia. You might have:
- Having trouble standing
- Having trouble sitting up
- Not being able to move your arms or legs
Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure can be a sign of an overdose of anesthesia. You might have:
- Feeling lightheaded
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Getting extremely dizzy
Your doctor will do a full physical exam to check for these symptoms.
What is the long-term outlook?
The symptoms of an overdose of anesthesia are usually mild to moderate. They should go away on their own.
If you have serious side effects from anesthesia, you may need to be hospitalized for treatment. You may also need to be given medicine to help your breathing.
You can also develop chronic pain from anesthesia. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage pain after an operation.
How do I prevent an overdose of anesthesia?
You can prevent an overdose of anesthesia if you have a plan in place with your doctor and other members of your healthcare team.
Here are some ways to avoid an overdose of anesthesia:
- Talk to your doctor about any other medications you take.
- Tell your doctor about any health conditions you have before the surgery.
- Make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions exactly.
- Take all your medicines as they are given to you.
How should I prepare for an operation?
Before the surgery, talk to your doctor about how you should prepare.
You’ll need someone to drive you home after the operation, and you’ll need to stay in the hospital for observation for a while.
Here are some things you can do before your surgery:
- Eat a light meal the night before the surgery.
- Make sure to have a water bottle with you.
- Dress appropriately for the type of surgery you’re having.
- Make sure to tell your doctor about all of your medications.
- Take all your medicines exactly as they are given to you.
What happens during the surgery?
The operation itself will take several hours. The anesthesiologist will give you anesthesia before the surgery to make you unconscious.
You’ll be put under general anesthesia so you don’t feel any pain. You’ll be awake and will be able to breathe on your own.
The anesthesiologist will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. They’ll also monitor the anesthesia to make sure you’re receiving enough medicine.
Your doctor will then put a tube into your throat or mouth, called a breathing tube, to take your breath.
Your doctor will use a small light to guide them as they do this. Then they’ll put a needle into your body to take a blood sample.
It’s normal to be nervous before an operation. You can rest assured that your anesthesiologist is there to help you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed.
The anesthesiologist will do everything in their power to make sure your surgery is successful.
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