How Long Will The Coughing Last After You Quit

I smoked a pack a day for 26 years (1.5 packs for about 6 months prior to quitting) and am still coughing. Am I just being impatient or does it take this long for the lungs to clear up?

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One Response to “How Long Will The Coughing Last After You Quit Smoking?”

  1. JR Says:

    It takes about 2-3 weeks for the lungs to clear up. The good news is that if you haven’t caused any permanent damage, your lungs will return to great shape. During this recouperative period, take 10 very deep breathes every hour or every two hours and try to expand your lungs and fill them with air with each breathe. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is the inability to EXHALE all of your inspired air. Inhalation should equal exhalation. So, in your pulmonary exercise (every hour or two hours) also try to exhale as much air as possible. Don’t be surprised if this activity results in the urge to cough. God gave us the cough reflex to get junk out of the lungs. Cough up all the junk and spit it out. This exercise will speed your recovery, but you may feel it is unpleasant. Also, aerobic exercise will help your lungs. Aerobic means “with air” as opposed to anaerobic “without air.” I can roller skate for 24 hours straight, which is an anaerobic exercise. But the minute I wave my arms up and down while skating, I become winded. This is an aerobic exercise. I confess here, that I am also a smoker. The lungs and heart are dependent upon each other. In COPD, if you’re already at the point that you cannot climb a set of stairs, like 15 steps up without gasping, you’re in deep, deep trouble. However, if you have spent your life smoking and exercising and you are not tons overweight, you have a great chance. I’m here to say that COPD is not a pretty sight. There are degrees, of course. The true diagnosis of COPD results in AIR HUNGER. Since this patient cannot expell their inspired air, they also have no room in their lungs for fresh air. This is probably all too technical for some…. The inhaled oxygen is attracked to red blood cells and help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to every one of your cells. The issue is compounded if you can’t feed your cells properly. I think this is easy enough to understand: ALL LIVING THINGS NEED AIR AND WATER. This includes every one of the millions of cells in your body. My patients with COPD are easily identified. They are very anxious and they don’t know why. They do not understand the disease process. All they know is that while they are AT REST they feel very anxious. Nurses I’ve worked with don’t even get this. How would you feel if you had a plastic bag over your head, tied tightly around your neck and you can’t get air? Commonly prescribed in this rather “late stage” is a benzodiazapine class of drug. This would be Ativan. Ativan is very good and it is very bad. Let me speak from personal experience on the subject of the class of benzodiazapines. This class is extremely addictive. EXTREMELY. My own mother received a 30 day supply from her Provider and insurance company. Well, because of the addictive qualities, she took all the doses in the first week or two and then she was in withdrawal for the last 3-4 weeks waiting to get the next prescription. The withdrawal was truly an ugly sight. Finally, there is no cure for COPD once it gets in later stages. Only to keep the patient as comfortable as possible by increasing amounts of benzodiazapines. Incidentally, this class of drug on the street is called a BENNIE. Your question was only about the coughing. There is so much more to it than that. If you have medical insurance (don’t get me started on that subject), ask to be referred to a pulmonologist for a correct diagnosis and find out how far your disease has progressed. The pulmonologist will do a thorough work-up and determine your lung function. (Called Pulmonary Function Testing). Depending on the condition of your lungs, you may be prescribed hand-held inhaler/s, nebulizer treatments, oral medications, oxygen by nasal cannula (the tube in the nose). Hey, you just have a cough. Not to worry. Exercise, lose weight, continue cessation of smoking and you’ll probably be just fine. …a registered nurse, happy to share with you. I don’t mean to scare you to death! 26 years of smoking. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) encompasses Emphysema and Asthma.
    If you don’t have medical insurance or you don’t have the funds to pay for diagnosis and treatment out-of-pocket, I am sorry to say that the state of healthcare in this United States of America is deplorable. The rich keep getting richer. Don’t get me started. How old are you? Have I alarmed you? Message me if you can’t climb steps. I am currently unemployed and looking for a purpose in life. I don’t know what I could do, but listen. I would try to help.

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