While most people have no problems with anesthesia or suffer only from mild, temporary symptoms, older adults and people with serious medical conditions are more likely to suffer complications, states Mayo Clinic. Those who smoke, are obese, have high blood pressure or diabetes, and those with drug allergies are also at higher risk of complications.
While the risk of complications from anesthesia are small, some people may suffer from temporary confusion, lung infections, strokes, heart attacks and death, notes Mayo Clinic. Some people may wake up while receiving anesthesia and be aware of their surroundings, and in very rare cases may experience excruciating pain despite being anesthetized. Errors by anesthesiologists, heart or lung problems, depression and daily alcohol use are some of the factors that can lead people to feel pain during medical procedures despite receiving anesthesia.
People who have sleep apnea should discuss this with their doctors prior to receiving anesthesia, so they can direct anesthetists to carefully monitor patients' breathing, advices Mayo Clinic. People must also fast prior to receiving anesthesia to help avoid complications, as anesthesia relaxes the muscles that stop food and acid from traveling out of the stomach. It is also important to avoid certain vitamins and supplements, such as Ginkgo biloba, fish oil, ginseng and garlic, prior to receiving anesthesia.