Home > Uncategorized > Follow-up “Quit smoking” post…

Follow-up “Quit smoking” post…

Not really a “geeky” post, per se, but following up on the post I made the other day about quitting smoking.

I found out the last time I quit (when I was pregnant in ’08-’09) that quitting cold turkey, or any other way, can have drastic effects on the body if not done properly. I found this out when I was five months pregnant, had stopped smoking for about a week, and suddenly found myself unable to breathe and fainted. I was rushed to the hospital, where I was applauded for my efforts but lectured severely by the ER staff for not realizing that I needed to increase my vitamin intake to compensate for the severe changes that quitting smoking causes to one’s body.

When you quit smoking, your blood sugar dips. This wasn’t really a big problem for me as I had gestational diabetes and they were worried about my blood sugar being too high… so quitting smoking actually kept it at normal levels before I reached my third trimester. However, my iron levels spiraled down so quickly that it sent my body into anemic shock, causing my shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. I had an occurrence of the same symptoms this morning, before I realized what I’d done wrong and had my husband look for a vitamin pill for me.

The doctors, at the time, explained it to me as such: While you’re smoking, one of the chemicals in cigarettes, benzene, causes your red blood cells to not absorb as much iron as a non-smoker’s would. Over time, the lowered threshold of iron intake becomes “normal” for a smoker’s body, even though it’s still far less iron than the body really needs. When that same person quits smoking, the metaphorical bar for iron absorption is raised but the intake is still the same, causing there to be a more noticeable deficiency, which in turn causes the body to freak out and throw itself into anemia.

Fun, huh?

So yeah. I’ll be adding iron tablets to my quit smoking regimen until I level out…

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