Recovery and Withdrawal Symptoms

During the first few days after quitting your body will go through changes as it adjusts to the absence of nicotine and other toxins.  Reactions vary, being very mild for some people and more distracting for others.  Following are common symptoms and how to deal with them:

Fatigue—Nicotine is a stimulant so people often feel drowsy when it is first taken away.  Allow yourself to get extra sleep, even take naps if possible, as your body adjusts.  Taking walks or other light aerobic activities also keep your energy level up.

Headaches and Dizziness—Dizziness comes with increased levels of oxygen in the brain.  Oxygen is good, but it takes a period of time for you to adjust.  Headaches and dizziness is also associated with a greater sensitivity to caffeine when you’ve quit smoking.  Try to cut back on caffeine and experiment with relaxing herbal teas.

Insomnia—sometimes people have difficulty sleeping—this will pass.

Irritability, Nervousness, Difficulty Concentrating—These normal reactions will pass as your body adjusts to the absence of nicotine.  If you let families and friends know, they will be forgiving if you let your irritability overflow.

Coughing—As your lungs start to clear out you may find that you are coughing more than usual.

Sore throat—In the absence of the numbing effect of smoke, you may become more aware of how your throat has been irritated.

Constipation—Drink plenty of fluids, eat foods with fiber (try a Bran cereal), eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and make sure you have daily physical activity.

Positive Physical Changes After You Quit

This is the exciting part.  After you quit your body gets much healthier in a matter of weeks!

Here is a play-by-play account of what happens:

20 to 30 minutes after your last cigarette: blood pressure and heart rate drop to normal levels.

8 hours after:  carbon monoxide levels in the blood go down and oxygen levels go up.

24 hours after:  your risk of heart attack and stroke decreases significantly.

48 hours after:  senses of taste and smell start improving.

72 hours after:  breathing becomes easier.

2 weeks to 9 months:  coughing decreases, sinus congestion decreases, physical activities such as walking are easier, lungs are working better.

1 year:  risk of heart disease drops significantly.

5 years:  risk of mouth, throat and esophageal cancer decreases significantly.

5 to 15 years:   stroke risk decreases significantly.

10 years: risk of lung cancer reduces significantly.

15 years: risk of heart disease and risk of death is almost at the same level as for those who haven’t smoked.

It’s amazing how the body can restore itself.  These are the significant health rewards for relieving your body of nicotine exposure.



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