Recovery Timeline: How Your Body Heals from Smoking

For most office workers, laborers, and individuals living in high-stress environments, smoking can be a respite. However, smoking can also be detrimental to the overall health of individuals. As most of us already know, quitting smoking can have various benefits to our body, not just physically, but psychologically as well.

There are several ways of quitting smoking:

  1. Constantly decreasing the number of cigarettes that you take each day
  2. Quitting cold turkey, which can be a challenge, but possible

However, quitting smoking is easier said than done, especially when you’ll be feeling a craving for cigarettes after a week or so of quitting.

It’s recommended that you seek professional help or find a support network to help you with your smoking habit. Typically, support networks can be friends, family members, and co-workers who can remind you of your journey in quitting smoking, if ever you do get cravings.

Timeline of Smoke Cessation

Most of us are aware of why we should stop smoking. Of course, it’s not just a habit that we can quit in a day, but it will take a considerable amount of time. Most of the time, the recovery process can reach from years to decades. Thus, it’s only rational that we keep ourselves aware and updated on our recovery timeline.

It’s important to note that each person will have their unique biology, and the recovery time for one individual might be different from another person. But most of the bodily changes that have been observed are universal within the following timespan:

The First Few Hours and Minutes

A few minutes after you’ve stopped, you’ll feel that your heart rate and blood pressure will return to normal. Your body will be utilizing its resources, such as water, in flushing out toxins and carbon monoxide from your body through various means.

After half of the day has passed, the amount of carbon monoxide in your body should come back to normal, with a fair amount of oxygen flowing through your body.

First Day

Right after a day of stopping smoking, you will instantly feel the effects of quitting. The risk of getting heart attacks right after a day of smoking is now reduced. It’s important to note that heart disease is the top cause of death in the United States.

Besides having a lower risk of heart attack, your blood pressure will now return to normal.

One to Two Weeks

Usually, you’ll start feeling withdrawal symptoms at this time, up until a few months. But if you’ll look past your withdrawal symptoms, you’ll start feeling that your heart and lung functions will have some improvement in the recovery process.

It’s worth noting that your vision will return to normal after a few weeks, and it would be easier to see at night. Moreover, the risk of getting glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts is severely reduced. If you do have cataracts, some services do offer cataract extraction.

One to Nine Months

Right after a few months of quitting smoking, the chances of relapsing will have significantly decreased. The risk of getting psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, will now have reduced.

The shortness of your breathing from the first few weeks and months would have gradually faded while being able to breathe deeply. ; Instead of smoking as stress relief, you’ll have more stamina for physical activities, such as jogging and hiking.

A Year

After a year of refraining from your habit, the chances of getting coronary heart disease would have significantly lowered to almost normal. Your cravings for smoking are now entirely gone, and you can now concentrate on more critical aspects of your life. Half of your body has now recovered.

10 to 15 years

After a decade or so, your lungs will have now fully healed, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The chances of getting lung cancer have now dropped to 50%. Overall, the chances of getting cancer for your mouth, reproductive system, esophagus, and pancreas would also significantly decrease.

When you’re smoking, your chances of getting cardiovascular diseases and cancer from the pancreas will increase. After 15 years, your body will have a decreased chance of contracting cancer.

20 years

jogging in the morning

After 20 years, your chances of getting lung cancer would be virtually non-existent. Your whole body will now feel energized and poised to take on the rest of your life, knowing that you have emerged victorious from a destructive habit.

When you start looking back to where you were 20 years ago, you can safely say that it was always the right decision not to smoke at all.

Healing your body from smoking can be a life-time process, but it is a worthwhile process, nonetheless. Even for a lot of long-time smokers, there is still hope in healing your body. If you quit smoking now, you will see the changes and benefits. Understanding the benefits of quitting smoking can help paint a bigger picture of the dangers of smoking. That is why it takes decades to heal your body from smoking.

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