Health Effects Of Oxidative Stress

When there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body, the condition is termed oxidative stress. Free radicals can best be described as molecules containing oxygen with an uneven number of electrons. Free radicals are able to easily react with other molecules because of the uneven number in their atomic makeup. Due to this high tendency to react with other molecules, free radicals can cause large chemical chain reactions inside of the body. These chain reactions are called oxidation and can be harmful to the body or they may be beneficial to the body. Antioxidants are characterized as molecules with the ability to donate one electron to a free radical without destabilizing themselves. Antioxidants help free radicals become more stable and less likely to react with other molecules.

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Alzheimer's Disease


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive variation of dementia, an encompassing term defined by conditions that have resulted from injuries to the brain or diseases that adversely affect behavior, memory, and thinking. Alzheimer's disease causes the degeneration and death of brain cells, resulting in progressive memory impairment, difficulty with thinking and reasoning, a decreased ability to make decisions and judgments, as well as changes in behavior and personality. This condition is very debilitating and adversely interferes with the everyday lives of the individuals who have it.

Oxidative stress causes DNA oxidation to occur in the brain, and DNA oxidation causes an excitotoxic response that results in the death of critical nerve cells. Oxidative stress also causes lipid oxidation in the brain, and this type of oxidation process produces numerous chemical byproducts that cause damage to the membranes of nerve cells. Oxidative stress also induces what is called protein oxidation, which results in byproducts like carbonyl that cause damage to nerve terminals. All three of these types of oxidation processes often cause damage to the nerve cells which can result in the development of any form of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

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High Blood Pressure


Blood pressure is best defined as the amount of force the blood places on the arterial walls as it flows through them. When this pressure gets too high, it is referred to as high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension can result in several serious medical problems such as an increased risk of stroke, blood clots, aneurysms, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, brain function impairment, heart failure, and heart attacks. Oxidative stress causes the stimulation of vascular smooth cell hypertrophy (enlargement of cells) and proliferation or increase in the number of cells. This leads to the thickening of arterial walls and the narrowing of vessels, which results in an increase in blood pressure. Oxidative stress also causes damage to the endothelium and inhibits the normal process of endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation. This results in increased contractile activity of the blood vessels, which causes an increase in blood pressure as well.

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