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What happens to your body when you stop smoking?

Congratulations on your decision to become an ex-smoker! It’s a big deal when you put out your last cigarette and decide to quit smoking.

The smoking cessation journey has its challenges, but—in the end—the rewards of the battle make it all worth it (including decreased inflammation, boosted immunity, and more).

ex-smoker runs with ease after his circulation and lung capacity has improved after stopping smoking

Unless you’ve tried to stop smoking before, it can be hard to know what to expect or know just how difficult it can be to transition through the initial, unpleasant hours and days of nicotine withdrawal.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect and find out what good things happens to your body once you stop smoking.

Immediate benefits

The human body is amazing. It is built to repair itself. It doesn’t take long for healing to begin after you snuff out your last cigarette.

Within 20 minutes

Almost right away, your blood pressure and heart rate will go down.

Within 12 hours

The carbon monoxide levels in your body will normalize.

Examples of initial nicotine withdrawal symptoms

The signs that you are experiencing nicotine withdrawal come on fast. According to researchers, average smokers start to notice some of these common symptoms within the first few hours of smoking their puff, including:

  • Anxiety, depression, and unease
  • Nicotine cravings
  • Testiness and irritability
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Problems sleeping and insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger

You feel all of these things because your brain and body are doing everything they can to fight your addiction. These symptoms are intense, typically peaking on day three and lasting for about two weeks.

Not all of the changes you will experience will be unfavorable. In fact, once nicotine is gone from your body,

After the first couple of weeks

The good news is you’ve made it through the tough part. Your recovery should get a little easier from this point forward, and you will start to notice significant improvements. For example, you will begin to cough less because your circulation is improving with each day.

After the first five months

Get ready to jog up the stairs or dash to your car in the parking lot when it’s raining without getting winded. After the first five months as a ex-smoker, your lung function will start to return to normal and your lung capacity will grow, too.

You’ll fee more energy and experience fewer episodes of shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing, too.

After one year

Healing is well underway, so much so that at this point you will have reduced your chance of having a heart attack by 50%.

After the first five years

At this point, your blood vessels and arteries are nearly back to normal, which means your risk for strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots are reduced significantly.

After ten years

This is a big milestone in your recovery. After 10 years of being smoke-free, your risk of getting lung cancer is cut in half.

After 15 years

Now your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease matches that of someone who doesn’t smoke.

After 20 years

Your dedication to living more than 20 years without smoking cigarettes will pay off with a life expectancy that is back to matching that of someone who isn’t a smoker.

Make a plan to stopping smoking

Ready to become a non-smoker but need a little help? Take the first step and schedule an appointment with your physician to get customized, practical strategies to help you beat your cravings and tackle nicotine withdrawal.

The team at Logansport Memorial Hospital is experienced helping patients break their psychological addition to smoking cigarettes. We are here for you. Schedule a consultation for more tips about making it through your recovery.

Request an appointment

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TOPICS: Health