There are many reasons that people will quit smoking, and they often have to do with their own health or the health of those around them. But many smokers fear what will happen to their bodies when they quit, and they are afraid that they won’t be able to handle the side effects.
Let’s break down the stages of quitting smoking, and you can see for yourself just what most people will be going through.
You will feel the effects of quitting smoking almost immediately. Just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate will start to return to its normal levels. This means that your blood pressure is decreased as well, and you won’t be as anxious or jittery.
In about two hours, the symptoms become even more pronounced. Your blood pressure should return to normal, and your heart rate will soon follow. You will also feel a warm sensation in your fingers, as circulation is improved.
The negative side effects start to show up as well. These include food cravings, nicotine cravings, difficulty sleeping and anxiety or nervousness.
The First Day
Aroudn 12 hours after your last cigarette, your respiratory system will start to feel the effects. The carbon monoxide which you inhale with your cigarettes bonds to your blood cells. It makes it difficult to breathe at times, and it can cause you to feel exhausted or out of breath after short exertions.
But around the 12 hour mark, this toxin will un-bond from your blood cells, and your respiratory system will start to get back to its old self. The effects of carbon monoxide may never fully heal, but you will notice an improvement in your ability to sustain energy and exertion levels for longer.
The Next Day
Your cravings will be worse by the next day, and many regular smokers cave in at this point. Your anxiety will be greater, and you may suffer from shaking fingers.
But at the same time, your risk of heart attack will be greatly reduced. Smokers are at a high risk of heart attack when they smoke regularly, but even after just a day of not inhaling smoke, they will cut their chance of heart attack significantly.
Two Days Later
Once you stop smoking, about 48 hours later your nerve endings will regrow. These were stymied by the chemical in the cigarettes, but they can start to heal now. This means that you will have increased sensation on your extremities and you will be able to taste things better. As your sense of taste and smell return, you may be more prone to notice cigarette smoke nearby, and your cravings will only have gotten worse.
Three Days Later
At this point, nicotine will be completely out of your system. This means your cravings will be at their peak, and you will suffer the severe symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. You will feel emotional symptoms, such as cravings and the need to hold a cigarette or other similar object. And you will feel physical symptoms as well. These include nausea, headaches, and cramps. Different people will experience these in individual ways.
Two to Three Weeks Later
In two to three weeks, the cravings and withdrawal symptoms should be completely out of your system. You should no longer feel the need to smoke or even hold a cigarette.
And your body will have begun to seriously regenerate from the negative effects of smoking. Your lug capacity will be greatly increased and you will have more stamina. You will no longer feel winded after short periods of physical activity. Your lungs will have mostly recovered (or as much as they are going to) at this point. Breathing will become easier, and you will find that you have more energy than you did while you were smoking.
Your circulation will improve as well, making you feel warmer overall and improving your energy levels. You also won’t feel sick as easily. It is common for smokers to feel nauseous after exerting themselves, but that should no longer be the case by this point.
Even the heaviest of smokers will lose all their withdrawal symptoms after a month or two. And the lungs will be repaired even more, and your risk of heart disease will decrease by as much as 50 percent over the next months.
In the following months and years, your body will have more healing to do, and you will continue to lower your risks for numerous diseases.