Oxidative Stress in Older Adults Paper

The body naturally produces free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) to keep itself healthy. However, exposure to pollution, ozone, smoking, and radiation causes the accumulation of such free radicals. Any imbalance between the antioxidants and ROS causes oxidative stress. Diet has a crucial role in the free radical production in the body. Such diets contain fats, sugar, and alcohol. The high reactivity of ROS causes large chain reactions in the body. Oxidative stress causes aging-related changes and diseases. It is a significant contributor to aging and is responsible for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Accumulation of ROS leads to replication errors and cellular damages. Being highly reactive, these free radicals affect proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Oxidative stress reduces the effectiveness of physiological processes of the human body. However, a healthy lifestyle and diet can manage oxidative stress. Plant-based foods are the best sources for obtaining naturally occurring antioxidants. These antioxidants protect from oxidative stress damage. It is crucial to quit smoking and start exercising to prevent excess accumulation of ROS. Avoiding exposure to chemicals, pollution, and radiation is another effective way for oxidative stress management.

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Reactive oxygen species include oxygen-containing molecules having an uneven number of electrons. These are also known as free radicals and can easily react with other molecules due to their uneven number of electrons. Due to their high reactivity, they cause large chain reactions. Such oxidation reactions can either be harmful or beneficial. It affects the molecules in the cells and tissues of the body. Antioxidants refer to molecules that can donate electrons to free radicals. This stabilizes the ROS and helps in detoxification. When ROS becomes stabilized and less reactive, it breaks the chain reactions. Antioxidants keep the free radicals in check. An imbalance between the activity of free radicals and antioxidants causes oxidative stress.

When there are more free radicals and fewer antioxidants, the free radicals start chain reactions and damage the body cells and tissues. It damages fatty tissue, proteins, and nucleic acids in the body. This damage over time can lead to diabetes, cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, inflammatory conditions, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress is also a major contributor to aging. However, the human body produces free radicals naturally through processes like inflammation or exercise. This constitutes the body’s natural system of keeping itself healthy. Exposure to free radicals, contributed by ozone, cigarette smoking, pesticides, radiation, and pollution can lead to their accumulation in the body. Moreover, an unhealthy diet containing fat, sugar, and alcohol increases free radical production.

Oxidative Stress in Older Adults
Free radical theory or oxidative stress theory of aging highlights the role of free radicals or oxidative damage of macromolecules like DNA, lipids, and proteins leading to structural damage in older adults. The exact mechanism of how oxidative stress causes aging is not understood. However, it can be understood that increased free radicals cause cellular damages. Moreover, it causes replication errors that prevent cellular proliferation. Oxidative stress leads to severe and chronic diseases like neurodegenerative diseases, kidney diseases, cancer, and biliary diseases. High concentrations of free radicals cause oxidative damage to macromolecules, which negatively impacts the cellular processes of the human body.

Research highlights the role between aging and oxidative stress. Aging depending on multiple factors, including oxidative stress, shows increased affinity to diseases and a decline in the effectiveness of physiological processes. Oxidative stress leads to an increase in age-related diseases. It also contributes to chronic inflammation. Excess of ROS can damage brain structures and brain cells and increase the chances of Parkinson’s disease in older adults. Oxidative stress changes the structures of essential proteins like amyloid-beta peptides. A 2018 study states that altering peptide structures causes amyloid plaques to accumulate in the brain. This causes Alzheimer’s disease, which especially affects people over 65 years.


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