Heart Attack Risk and Circulation
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States today, and the number one killer of smokers. Nicotine increases the level of adrenaline in a smoker’s bloodstream, and this in turn elevates blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict and heart rate to increase.
Smoking cessation alleviates the stress cigarette smoking places on the heart and circulatory system quickly, which is great positive feedback for new ex-smokers.
You may notice a positive change in blood pressure readings and the return to a normal heart rate very soon after quitting. The risk of a heart attack is reduced within just 24 hours after you stub out your last cigarette.
Lung Function Increases
Improvements in lung function are dependent on overall lung health, but many people will experience better lung function (defined as forced expiratory volume in one second) and less bronchial sensitivity during the first few months of smoking cessation. In fact, you might notice it’s easier to climb stairs without becoming winded after just two weeks smoke-free.
Also, cilia start regrowing in your lungs, which helps to remove tobacco residue and environmental pollutants that are breathed in.
This will assist your body in fighting off colds and other respiratory infections more effectively.
Some new ex-smokers worry about a new cough that begins after smoking cessation. It is often due to the presence of cilia in the lungs once again. That said, if you develop a cough that you’re concerned about, schedule a visit with your health care professional for a check-up.
Lung Function Decline Slows
Researchers believe that smoking cessation stops the decline in lung function for most ex-smokers, including pathological and inflammatory changes that occur in the lungs due to tobacco smoke.
In cases of advanced emphysema, lung decline may not be halted following smoking cessation, but its progress will be slowed due to quitting.