What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking?
Before you quit, you may be concerned about what to expect. If you know what happens to your body when you quit smoking, you may be better prepared to deal with the withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings. Here is a list of biological changes to expect and some symptoms that may appear with those changes:
- Normalized Blood Pressure
Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it constricts blood vessels, it increases blood pressure.
- Increased Blood Flow
When nicotine’s influence is removed from the bloodstream, your tissues receive more oxygen and all your body systems can operate more efficiently at the cellular level.
Because your body is no longer burdened by the some 3,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke on a daily basis, it starts to detoxify itself. This process sends stored up toxins into your bloodstream to be eliminated, which is usually accompanied by headache, nervousness and other detoxification symptoms.
- Increased Appetite
As an appetite suppressant, nicotine decreases appetite. When a smoker stops smoking they experience an increase, or rather, a regulation of appetite. New Ex-smokers can expect this period of adjustment to this increased appetite and many gain weight as a result. Most physicians will say moderate weight gain is an acceptable risk compared to the risks associated with continued smoking.
- Nicotine Withdrawal
Nicotine is listed in the top ten most addictive drugs, it even activates the same brain receptors that cocaine does. This change in brain chemistry becomes ingrained over time and when the nicotine is removed, the brain sends signals to the body to acquire the drug. These nicotine withdrawal symptoms sometimes include restlessness, irritability and even anger. Some quitter experience time distortion or mind fog as well.
These are only the biological changes are the basics of what to expect when you quit. Keep in mind in the long term ex-smokers can expect to have lower risks of cardiovascular disease, lung and other cancers, and can also expect a longer life span.
While you quit, be sure to tell your physician about any new or increasing symptoms of any kind, especially if you choose to take a smoking cessation drug or nicotine replacement. Also know these drugs come with their own set of side effects that may compound quitting problems.
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