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Antioxidant

The cells of our body need oxygen for metabolism. But when there are excessive oxygen molecules and other free radicals that are formed due to other cellular reactions, they cause infinite damage to the body. These unstable oxygen molecules are referred to as free radicals and they are cited as an important cause for most chronic diseases. These free radicals are highly reactive chemical substances that travel throughout the body. We are also exposed to free radicals in the atmosphere in the form of cigarette smoke and pollution.


Free radicals are known to cause cells to mutate and die. They may have a role to play in the development of cancer cells. Atheriosclerosis is attributed in some part to free radicals that attack blood fats. Free radicals may have a damaging effect on sperm thereby causing infertility and birth defects. They may also be involved in ulcers and other digestive tract disorders, liver damage and reduced resistance to infection and disease. Rheumatoid arthritis and asthma have also been linked to increased free radicals within the body. The process of aging is said to be a result of free radical damage in the body. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun also increases the free-radical load.


Antioxidants work as scavengers of free radicals. When your body has insufficient antioxidants, it can lead to significant damage and disease. Boosting your body's defense mechanism with adequate amounts of natural antioxidants and antioxidant supplements can boost body resilience and reduce chances of disease. Antioxidants can aid in controlling high blood pressure. Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Phytochemicals, Green tea and beta carotene are some well-known antioxidants.

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Babies who are born prematurely experience various disorders. These disorders occur because of the underdevelopment of a particular organ. Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia is a very serious condition which occurs predominantly in premature babies. Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia was first noticed in 1976, among pre term babies suffering respiratory distress. The babies were categorized as ventilator dependent as they needed increased oxygen.


Symptoms of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Chronic lung disease or Bronchopulmonary dysplasia occurs because of developmental disorders. The cellular arrangement in the lung tissue is also impaired to a large extent. Babies who are born at a gestation period of 34 weeks are prone to chronic lung disease. Studies imply that babies whose weight is less than 4 pounds during this period also experience symptoms of this condition. This happens because of the reduced development of the alveoli in the lung tissue.

These babies are often treated with positive pressure ventilation (PPV), but since they do not have enough antioxidants, there is a possibility of developing oxygen toxicity. The relation between Bronchopulmonary dysplasia and oxygen toxicity is very significant in understanding the exact cause. In many cases, ventilator associated positive pressure treatment has aggravated the condition. The classical symptoms associated are shortness of breath, cyanosis, increased breathing rate and cough.

Diagnosis of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

The treatment options become easier for Bronchopulmonary dysplasia, if the root cause is effectively diagnosed. The major diagnostic parameters that have to be taken in to consideration are:

  • Gestation period of the baby.
  • Underlying intrauterine infections.
  • Duration of ventilator exposure after birth.
  • Estimation of oxygen toxicity during positive pressure ventilation.

Careful analysis has to be done in differentiating respiratory distress condition and bronchopulmonary dysplasia through X-rays as both have significant appearance radiologically. One of the diagnostic identifications includes the oxygen dependency of the patient after initial treatment, as this enables evaluation of the lung functionality in the long term. Other tests that add relevance to the diagnosis include arterial blood gas estimation in case of cyanosis, pulse oxymetry and CT scan.

Treatment of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

One of the early ways to treat bronchopulmonary dysplasia was to administer systemic steroids. This method was practiced to minimize ventilator utilization. The only disadvantage was the onset of adrenal suppression; hence the dosage pertaining to these steroids was reduced and was given in combination with hydrocortisone to balance the cortisol levels.

Diuretics are also advised. Inflammation associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia is treated with inhaled nitric oxide therapy as it facilitates the process of vasodilation. Other treatment options include the administration of vitamin A and E to facilitate free radical removal and enhance immunity. Nutrition is an important factor as it meets the demands of the increased energy levels in these babies and also provides the antioxidants to remove the free radicals formed during metabolic pathways.


Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system of the individual, and they support normal growth and development of the body. For instance, carrot contains beta carotene and other carotenoids, which are not only good for eyes but also are antioxidants. Beta carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A and is part of the Provitamin A Carotenoids. The body converts carotenoids into Vitamin A, which in turn prevents possible eye problems. Vitamins fall under two categories:


Fat soluble vitamins - which dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.

Water soluble vitamins - which need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. Water soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and the B complex vitamins such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin and folate.

While vitamins are organic substances, minerals are inorganic and they come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. The body needs largest amounts of some minerals such as calcium, to stay healthy. Other minerals such as chromium, copper, iodine, selenium and zinc are termed trace minerals as the body needs very small amounts of them each day.

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 19, 2019