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Need A Reason To Quit? Six Miraculous Changes Your Body Goes Through When You Quit Smoking

Each year, 1.3 million smokers break the habit. While some don't achieve long-term success, about 40 percent do. What's the secret to their success? Mental preparation and a great support system are key.

Part of being mentally prepared is to understand what happens to your body after you quit. By focusing on the benefits and blessings you're receiving for your efforts, you will be more likely to kick the smoking habit for good.

If you're looking for a reason or motivation to quit, following are six miraculous changes your body goes through when you quit smoking. 


1. Your Body Chemistry Stabilizes

Once you make the decision to stop smoking, you will start to reap the rewards within minutes, literally. After just 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse will decrease. After approximately eight hours, your body chemistry will begin to stabilize. The carbon monoxide level in your blood will return to normal, and you will have more oxygen being carried throughout your body. Since oxygen is vital for all cell functions in your body, lack of it can leave you feeling lethargic. With an increased oxygen level, you will feel better and be able to fight off illnesses faster.

2. Your Risk of Heart Attack Decreases

Twenty-four hours after you quit smoking, your risk for heart attack and other cardiovascular events decreases dramatically. After one year, you will reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by 50 percent. If you quit for five years or more, it will be as if you've never smoked at all. For those already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, the results are similar.

3. Your Senses Start to Return

Smoking dulls vital senses, such as the sense of taste and smell, because the nicotine found in cigarettes inhibits the function of your nerve endings. After just 48 hours, your nerve endings start to come back to life, resulting in a greater sense of taste and smell.

4. Your Tolerance for Activity Increases

Smoking increases the viscosity of your blood, impeding its ability to flow freely and carry oxygen to vital organs. A study published in the November 2010 issue of Circulation Journal showed that blood returned to normal viscosity, meaning it thinned out, after three months of not smoking.

Better blood flow greatly increases your tolerance for activity and exercise. You will be able to do more and have more stamina than you would if you were still smoking, which can greatly improve your quality of life.

5. Your Lungs Start to Heal

Your body has amazing regenerative powers. One to nine months after you quit smoking, your lungs will start to heal. Cilia, the small hairs inside your lungs, will regenerate, enhancing your ability to remove mucous and foreign material from your lungs. All of this helps your body rid your lungs of the gunk that smoking left behind. Health-wise, you will begin to have more energy, have fewer episodes of shortness of breath, and have fewer sinus issues.

6. Your Risk of Death Dramatically Decreases

Quitting for 10 years or more dramatically decreases your chance of dying from lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers. Your risk of dying from lung cancer will be half of what it would be if you continued smoking. You will also enjoy a greatly reduced risk of stroke and sudden death related to cardiovascular disease.

Miraculous changes occur in your body when you quit smoking. If you need help to quit or if you would like more information about what smoking is doing to your body, make an appointment with Alpha J. Anders, M.D., FCCP, your local lung specialist, as soon as possible.

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