Making an active effort to quit smoking is just the beginning. The next part is making sure you stay smoke free. In our fourth and final blog series on quitting smoking, we walk you through what happens to you, your body, and your life after you quit smoking.
Editor's note: Information and data included in this blog is pulled from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are so many good reasons why you should quit smoking, and that includes all the good changes that happens to you and your body after you quit. When you quit smoking, you’ll notice a huge change in how you feel -- and your body will thank you for it. Here are some positive changes that happen after you quit.
- Your brain: Your brain can begin to re-wire and help break the cycle of addiction.The large number of nicotine receptors in your brain will return to normal levels after about a month of being quit.
- Improved hearing: Smoking can affect your hearing. After quitting, you may notice an improvement in your ability to hear.
- Better vision: Your overall vision, including your night vision, will improve after you quit.
- Clean mouth: No one likes a dirty mouth! Your oral health will improve, including better breath and even whiter teeth. Who doesn’t like a great smile?
- Clear skin: Smoking can cause premature aging, and mess with your complexion. When you quit, your body is more able to clear up blemishes and stay healthy.
Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease. When you quit smoking, you do wonders for your heart.
- Decreased heart risks: Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Your risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours.
- Thin blood: When you quit smoking, your blood will become thinner and less likely to form dangerous blood clots. Your heart will also have less work to do, because it will be able to move the blood around your body more easily.
- Lower cholesterol: Quitting smoking will not get rid of the fatty deposits that are already there. But it will lower the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood, which will help to slow the buildup of new fatty deposits in your arteries.
When you smoke, a lot of damage can be done to your lungs. Much of that damage is irreversible. However, by quitting smoking, you prevent further damage and disease to your lungs. It’s worth it.
- Stops lung damage: Like we said, quitting can’t reverse any scarring that happens to your lungs. But it stops any further damage. Within two weeks of quitting, you might notice it’s easier to walk up the stairs, because you may be less short of breath.
- Prevent emphysema: There is no cure for emphysema. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged. But quitting when you are young, before you have done years of damage to the delicate air sacs in your lungs, will help protect you from developing emphysema later.
- Return of cilia: Cilia are hairlike follicles that exist inside the lungs, and work to make breathing easy. Cilia start to regrow and regain normal function very quickly after you quit smoking. They are one of the first things in your body to heal. You’re more likely to fight off colds and infections when you’re cilia are working properly.
Your stomach and hormones
Your stomach and hormones will also go through some changes. For the better, of course.
- Smaller belly: Along with losing belly fat, your risk for diabetes decreases after you quit smoking. If you have diabetes already, quitting can help keep your blood sugar in check.
- Normal estrogen levels: If you’re female, your estrogen levels will begin to function and go back to normal after quitting.
- Erectile dysfunction: When you quit smoking, chances of problems like erectile dysfunction are less likely.
Your immune system, muscles and bones
Your immune system, muscles, and bones improve in health and function when you quit smoking. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s no less true.
- Normal white blood cell count: When you quit smoking, your body will begin to heal from the injuries that smoking caused. Eventually, your white blood cell counts will return to normal and will no longer be on the defensive.
- Proper healing: Quitting smoking will improve blood flow to wounds, allowing important nutrients, minerals, and oxygen to reach the wound and help it heal properly.
- Stronger immune system: When you quit smoking, your immune system is no longer exposed to tar and nicotine. It will become stronger, and you will be less likely to get sick.
- Strong muscles: Quitting smoking will help increase the availability of oxygen in your blood, and your muscles will become stronger and healthier.
- Strong bones: Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of fractures, both now and later in life. Keep your bones strong and healthy by quitting now.
You can do it!
We know that quitting isn’t easy. But we do know it’s definitely worth it. It can be a long process, but you don’t have to do it alone. Make sure you’re always supported in the way you want. Be aware of your triggers, but focus on why you’re quitting. Celebrate the progress you make, and be kind to yourself when you have setbacks.
How Apicha CHC can Help You
At Apicha CHC, we’re here to help. Our PCPs routinely assess for smoking among all patients in the practice. If you are a current smoker, you and your provider will discuss your readiness to quit and current strategies to assist you, which may include medication and smoking cessation counseling. If you are a current smoker, are thinking about quitting, and would like to meet with one of our providers, you can schedule an appointment here.You can schedule an appointment here.