There are many side effects that smokers can experience when they quit smoking. These side effects are often no worse than you might normally expect from a common cold or after having eaten something you are not used to, but they are annoying none the less. The most common side effects reported are as follows:
Quit Smoking Side Effect #4: Cravings
The act of quitting smoking means that your body is no longer being given a supply of nicotine. As a result, you start suffering from nicotine withdrawal symptoms that manifest themselves as cravings to smoke. As a smoker, you have always associated nicotine with cigarettes so now that you are in need of nicotine, your body is craving a cigarette in order to overcome the nicotine shortages in the blood stream. Cravings normally peak after the third day of a quit and then subside quite rapidly after that.
Quit Smoking Side Effect #5: Light-headedness
When you are a smoker, you inhale a concoction of over 4000 chemicals with each puff on a cigarette. Amongst the plethora of chemicals in cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide is a major component. Carbon monoxide binds itself to the haemoglobin in the red blood cells of your body. The red blood cells are designed to transport oxygen to and carbon dioxide away from your cells. However, once you have the carbon monoxide molecule attached to the haemoglobin, the haemoglobin cannot function properly. As a result of this, smokers’ blood usually only functions to about 85% of that of a non-smoker. After quitting the smokes, one of the side effects is a higher level of oxygen in the blood than you would be used to – the result being your brain gets a little ‘woozy’ and you become light-headed on the oxygen. The symptoms will pass with time.
Quit Smoking Side Effect #6: Constipation
Amongst other things, nicotine in tobacco products affects the way in which your gastrointestinal tract operates. You wouldn’t notice this normally because as a smoker you are totally used to ‘yourself’ as a smoker. When you quit, you may notice some changes including a change in your bowel movements and possibly some constipation. This is because the nicotine relaxes your gut and helps it keep regular. When you stop, the bowel does not have the relaxing effects of nicotine to help it do its job. The net result is that you may suffer from constipation and/or stomachache as a result of reduced nicotine. The best trick to help overcome constipation is to eat high fibre foods and plenty of water.
Quit Smoking Side Effect #7: Sweet tooth – increased appetite
When you smoke, one of the stimulant effects of nicotine is to give you a little adrenalin rush that makes the body ‘dump’ sugar into the blood stream, in anticipation of the need to fight or run from a threat. Having stopped smoking, your body does not get the hunger suppressing action of nicotine and your blood sugar levels remain lower at all times. The net result is that you crave sugar in order to try and rectify the problem. The main threat to smokers suffering from this is that they then go on to eat junk foods regularly, such as chocolate or sweets. The end result that many smokers fear more than the threat of tobacco to their health, is weight gain. The trick to overcome this is to eat plenty of low glycaemic index (GI) foods throughout the day to stave of blood sugar highs and lows.
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