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Heart & lung : the journal of critical care

An introduction to oxygen free radicals.


PMID 8635921

Abstract

Oxygen free radicals are byproducts from the fundamental metabolic activities within the body. Normally, radicals are neutralized by enzymatic activity or natural antioxidants. Thus the generation of free radicals poses no problem so long as the balance between oxygen radical production and eradication remains in balance. There are multiple medical conditions, such as myocardial infarction, carcinogenesis, and neurologic trauma, to name a few, that may be aggravated by the presence of oxygen free radicals. This article will present an overview of oxygen free radicals: their normal formation and control and how they might further injure tissue in particular diseases. The implications for health care professionals are highlighted.