One question on the lips of ex-smokers is: “do lungs heal after quitting smoking?” This article answers this question and goes on to describe exactly how smoking affects the lungs and how to repair it.
The human body has an astonishing and miraculous ability to heal itself. A look at ex-smokers is all you need to prove this point. The very minute you drops off cigarettes, your body system begins the healing process.
But, as your body begins the healing process, it’s important to note that instead of feeling better right off the hook, you may feel worse and sick for a while. It’s important to understand that healing, just like addiction, is a process; it begins immediately, but it continues over time.
If you are feeling nervous, quick-tempered, weary and coughing a lot, just know that you are experiencing the symptoms of recovery from nicotine addiction. These symptoms are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine, a powerful and highly addictive substance. In most cases, your body is rid of nicotine within 2-3 days.
What Happens to the Lungs when You Quit Smoking?
Within three months of stopping smoking, the lung’s ability to inhale and exhale is greatly improved while the small hair-like cilia in the lungs get better at moving mucus and cleaning the lungs after one smoking-free year. Health challenges such as shortness of breath and coughing also become a rarity after a year of not smoking.
10 years after smoking cessation, a U.S. Surgeon General’s report reveals that the danger of lung cancer plunges to less than half that of a smoker.
A Lung Health Study bankrolled by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) claimed that women’s lung function improved twice as much as men’s during the first year after stopping smoking.
Previously, LHS researchers made available results indicating that both sexes profit from quit smoking but this new study proves that women benefit more than men as their lung function improved speedily after one smoking-free year. The results can be found in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
However, a 2004 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking: a Report of the Surgeon General,” warns that ex-smokers will always have a more than average risk of lung cancer than people who have never smoked.
How Smoking Affects the Lungs
Aside the brain, the lungs are the most fragile organs in the human body. By design, our lungs are packed with miniature passage ways and air compartments. Each time you breathe in, fresh air containing oxygen, is dragged into the miniature chambers in your lungs. From there, the oxygen moves to the red blood corpuscles where it is substituted for carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is then passed out from your system as you breathe out.
According to Kids Health, this breathing in and out process takes place about 20,000 times each day. For this process to effectively take place, the passage ways in your lungs must always be free of deposits that could block the small passage ways and obstruct the oxygen/carbon dioxide flow. To keep the chambers clean, your lungs have tiny, hair-like structures that line up the airways called cilia. Healthy cilia clean the lungs of mucus and reduce chances for infection. Cigarette smoking prevents the cilia from functioning well because each time you smoke, pollutants and toxins are dragged into the lungs. If you are just an irregular smoker, the cilia can easily filter the dirt out of the lungs. But if you are a regular smoker, the cilia cannot effectively perform its function. As you continue to smoke, many of the short cilia get weakened, making the cleaning process even more complex. Over time, toxins from cigarette smoke begin to block the tiny air chambers. In patients with Chronic OPD, the cilia may be injured and unable to perform well.
Because the cilia can no longer function optimally, your body takes to coughing as a way of supporting the cilia to clear your lungs. But you can fast track the cleaning process by using the tips below.
How to Clean Your Lungs
Making the lungs free of toxins is one of the foremost challenges after smoking cessation. This is because cigarette smoking tends to leave the lungs not only contaminated but also dehydrated and possibly swollen. One thing to keep in mind is that the lungs cannot be cleansed completely.
If you want to know the length of time required for cleansing the lungs after quitting smoking, please know that it depends on how long and how much you smoked. More often than not, it takes about 12 months, and it’s shocking to hear that it sometimes takes 24 to 36 months to fix the lungs even after you have dropped off cigarettes.
So, the good thing is to start cleansing your lungs immediately you kick the smoking habit. This is to enable you recover your normal health. You can do this using a simple combination of food supplements and vitamins that rinse the toxins out of your lungs and flush them out of your body. This easy process will clean out your lungs 10 times faster than your body can do it on its own.
Cleansing your lungs is possible by choosing the right food supplements, exercise, and breathing of fresh air. Here are some tips on how to clean your lungs:
* Consume lots of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. You could also take a multivitamin pill. Please note that Vitamin E is very effective when it comes to healing. Both the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control advocate that adults gobble at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This should be critically observed after smoking cessation as the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables will help restore your lungs to good health fast.
* Drink plenty of water. Most people do not drink enough water. Consuming sodas, coffee and alcohol weighs down the body system but water heals. It gets toxins out of the body, softens deposits and phlegm, and greases the tissue. It also helps thin the mucous out.
Don’t forget that your lungs make use of moisture with every breath you take, and the pressure put on them by smoking makes your lungs work twice as hard(if not harder). By providing more than enough fluids to your body, you will help improve your lungs and their functions. As a rule, I suggest taking a bottle of water along wherever you go, and sipping from it throughout the day.
* Carry out deep breathing drills. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nostrils. Hold the breath for several seconds. Let go of the breath slowly and forcefully through your oral cavity. Repeat these exercises numerous times a day. Try to take deeper breaths and hold your breath longer as your lungs improve.
* Also begin exercising to help cleanse your lungs. Exercises with expanding and contracting lungs would be most beneficial. For most people, swimming does the trick but if you are not comfortable with swimming, you can go for another type of exercise like taking short walks for a start and then increasing the distance gradually. Also you can commence with a slow walk, and then wind up the speed gradually to jogging and running.
Exercises advance your cardiovascular tolerance and effectiveness, allowing you to run faster and farther. Exercise also improves your cholesterol level and brings down your blood pressure, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease and strokes. It can also perk up your mood and help normalize your sleep and wake rotation. You can read up on how beneficial exercise is to smoking cessation.
* Dust and mold can irritate your lungs so do a thorough cleaning of your house. Clean dust from furniture, window blinds and other areas. Wipe down walls and vacuum thoroughly and regularly. This will help clear your environment of dust, pollutants and smoke in the air that might impede the improvement of your lungs.
* Avoid second hand smoke, unnatural odors, perfumes, house cleaning products, and fireplaces. This will help your lungs improve faster.
* Get out of the four walls of your home and breathe in free and fresh air. This can enable your lungs to get clean air to breath also promote good health.
Apart from smoking cessation, no other treatments have been uncovered to advance lung function. Even though studies have shown that lung function may improve by one year in ex-smokers with mild lung disease, those with severe lung disease may just experience a reduction in their symptoms.
Last, but not the least, bear in mind that smoking is a habit, and for you to break any habit, you need to be patient and take it one step at a time.
Will My Lungs Repair Themselves?
Yes. As with anything that is abused, your body can cure itself once it’s given the opportunity. And that includes your lungs! Cigarette smoking is just like a germ, you’re sick and coughing and you’ve got really bad flu. But if we take that germ out with the right drug, the lungs are able to repair themselves.
With time, this repair process will go on. But, your lungs may never be as efficient as they were before you started smoking. The ability of lungs to recover from the impact of smoking depends largely upon the number of years smokers subject their lungs to the habit. But experts say the health of lungs begins to improve the very moment smokers drop their last cigarettes. This simply means the longer you smoke, the more damage you cause your lungs, and at some point, that damage becomes unalterable. Quitting smoking now will significantly lessen your chances of any lung problems in the near or distant future. So, our last word is: stop smoking today!!! Quit smoking NOW!!!