Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of negative charged subatomic particles (electrons). The uneven number of electrons makes these highly reactive. These free radicals react with oxygen in the body. This process is called oxidation.
Oxidation is a normal process that happens in the body. It can help fight pathogens, hence reduces the risk of infections. Oxidative stress happens when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Oxidative stress can have negative effects on the body. This means the oxidative ions attack our healthy cells instead of germs. Antioxidants are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical, which makes the free radical stabilize and become less reactive.
What are the effects of oxidative stress on the body?
When the concentration of free radicals in the body is higher than what the antioxidants can balance, it results in oxidative stress. The free radicals damage the body by damaging the cell membrane and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
Oxidative stress can increase the risk of several diseases. These include:
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels)
- Inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis
- Hypertension (increased blood pressure)
- Heart disease
- Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s
- Premature aging
What causes oxidative stress?
It is normal to have free radicals in the body as a result of exercise or inflammation. Exposure to free radicals can also be due to the environment, improper stress management, or faulty diet.
Some sources of free radicals include:
How can oxidative stress be prevented?
It is not possible to completely avoid exposure to free radicals and oxidative stress. However, there are ways to minimize the effects of oxidative stress on the body. The main thing you can do is to increase the levels of antioxidants inside the body, which would combat the formation of free radicals as much as possible. Ways to reduce or prevent oxidative stress include:
- Consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants. This includes fruits, vegetables, and spices (berries, cherries, citrus fruits, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, olives, nuts, fish, turmeric, green tea, onion, garlic, cinnamon).
- Taking supplements that contain vitamin C, B, and E can help reduce oxidative stress.
- Decreasing the amount of bad fat in the diet. Good fat is present in walnuts, almonds, fatty fish, avocadoes, etc.
- Reducing alcohol consumption.
- Regular and moderate exercise routine. At least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Avoiding smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke and other fumes.
- Using chemicals with caution. These include cleaning chemicals, pesticides, etc. You may switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products, pesticides, and fertilizers. Bio enzymes made from orange peels and lemon peels are excellent surface cleaners.
- Using sunscreen prevents damage caused by ultraviolet light to the skin. Sunscreen should be used all year round, even in winters or if it is cloudy.
- Adequate sleep and hydration are a must.
- Avoiding overeating or binging can reduce oxidative stress. It is best to eat at appropriately spaced intervals and in small or moderate portions.
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Science Direct. Oxidative Stress. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/oxidative-stress
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
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