Preparing for Surgery with Diabetes: Drinking ClearFast for a Safer Surgery
For the over 30 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes, the thought of preparing for surgery with diabetes can be frightening to say the least. The inherent stress that comes along with surgery, coupled with pre-op fasting and post-op complications, can make managing your diabetes and controlling your blood sugar all the more difficult. But, more and more research has recently shown that preparing for surgery with diabetes can be made more comfortable and safe with the simple addition of a clear, complex-carb preop drink like ClearFast. Today, then, we’re breaking down the ins and outs of preparing for surgery with diabetes—and talking safe preop carb-loading for diabetics:
Why Fasting Before Surgery for Diabetics Isn’t Always Safe:
The idea of fasting before surgery is an old and outdated one—recent clinical studies and findings from numerous medical professionals show that fasting before surgery actually adds stress and decreases the safety of patients preparing for surgery. This is particularly true for those with diabetes, as diabetic patients are often the most adversely affected by prolonged fasting.
A prolonged fast ultimately sends your body into a catabolic state, which means your body uses up its glycogen stores when it needs energy before surgery and then moves on to breaking down healthy fat and muscle tissue as an alternative energy source when it runs out of glycogen stores. This isn’t ideal for the average, everyday patient—let alone for someone managing diabetes. For diabetics, this catabolic state can lead to serious complications like hyperglycemia and even ketoacidosis.
In addition to these complications, things as simple as post-op nausea and vomiting (a common experience for patients waking up from surgery), increased stress (something we all experience before and after surgery), and a decrease in activity level after surgery can make monitoring and managing your blood sugar all the more difficult for diabetics. Minimizing these factors is key when it comes to preparing for surgery with diabetes.
The Benefits of Safe PreOp Carb-Loading for Diabetics:
As any diabetic knows, prolonged fasting is one of the quickest ways to throw your blood sugar completely out of whack. Add stress hormones and pre-surgery anxiety on top of that and you’ve got a recipe for disaster for diabetics undergoing surgery. Though it may seem counterintuitive at first, according to a number of medical studies, pre-op carb-loading for diabetics is actually one of the safest, most effective ways to manage blood sugar levels before, during and after surgery. Consider the following benefits:
- It protects your critical glycogen stores: By providing your body the complex carbs it needs for energy, drinking ClearFast before surgery helps to ensure your body isn’t using up all of those ever-important glycogen stores. This ultimately helps you proactively manage your blood-sugar levels, rather than being at the mercy of a from-midnight fast (and the negative side effects such a fast can have on your health).
- It takes into account a diabetic’s ongoing nutritional requirements: Let’s face it—fasting for hours upon hours isn’t exactly a practical option for diabetics, who have constant and critical nutritional requirements. By working ClearFast into your surgery prep routine and closely monitoring your blood sugar levels as part of the prep process, you’re working with—rather than completely ignoring—your body’s critical nutritional requirements.
- It reduces your chance of preop complications: Prolonged fasting before surgery for diabetics can mean a dangerous drop in blood-sugar levels, which ultimately leads to complications like hypoglycemia and even ketoacidosis (a serious complication that occurs when your body isn’t producing enough insulin). Preparing your body for surgery with ClearFast helps to reduce the risk of your body using up all of those important glycogen stores and ultimately ending up in one of these two unhealthy and risk-prone states.
- It reduces your chance of post-op complications: Numerous studies have found that pre-op carb-loading with a complex-carb, clear preop drink like ClearFast can reduce your risk of post-op insulin resistance and post-op infections, as well as reduce the occurrence of post-op vomiting—all of which make managing your blood-sugar difficult, posing particular danger for those with diabetes. These same studies have found the old-school fasting-from-midnight instruction to be antiquated and even unsafe, espeically in regards to the development of post-op insulin resistance. In fact, according to a lecture published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, “The increased uptake of glucose in non-insulin-sensitive cells is involved in the development of several of the most common postoperative complications, including infections and cardiovascular problems. Many of the perioperative treatments in use are outdated, and modern care involves a multimodal approach with several treatments, such as preoperative carbohydrate treatment instead of overnight fasting.” Just like this finding states, when we’re able to avoid or reduce the risk of these complications through preop carb treatment, we end up with a much easier and shorter recovery period—which ultimately means getting to go home (and get the heck out of the hospital!) much quicker.
So, Can I Drink ClearFast if I’m Diabetic?
Lots of recent research points to the fact that, not only is preop carb-loading not bad for diabetics undergoing surgery, but it actually proves extremely beneficial. Because diabetics are always monitored extra closely before, during and after surgical procedures, the addition of ClearFast won’t vastly change the treatment plan for a diabetic at all. It won’t require tons of extra monitoring, but instead integrates seamlessly into your doctor’s, surgeon’s and anesthesiologist’s treatment plan. That being said, we always recommend asking your doctor if ClearFast is right for your particular surgery. We have tons of preop carb-loading resources for medical professionals on our website, which he or she can refer to for additional information.
Overall, preparing for surgery with diabetes comes down to being proactive about your health and practical about your unique nutritional needs, rather than being at the mercy of an antiquated from-midnight fast. Be sure to talk to your doctor about ClearFast, and, with their approval, order your ClearFast Preop Drink here to get a major leg up on the dreaded surgery and recovery process. As always, reach out to the ClearFast team at email@example.com if you have any questions about our preop drink at all!