Background: Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, known as free radicals, play a key role in the etiology and progression of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by creating vascular oxidative stress. Purpose: This review will discuss current biological research about the enzymatic and nonenzymatic sources of oxidative stress, free radical chemistry, and how it pertains to endothelial dysfunctiona hallmark of cardiovascular disease.
Methods: An integrative review of the literature was conducted. Findings: Free radicals lower the bioavailability of the potent vasodilator nitric oxide and therefore, through numerous chemical reactions, negatively affect vascular biology and endothelial function. Endothelial dysfunction is considered to be integral in the initiation of atherosclerosis. Conclusions: The success and failures of current therapies to reduce oxidative stress are discussed in terms of implications for nursing research on exogenous antioxidants, pharmacotherapy, and lifestyle change.
- Nursing research
- Oxidative stress
- Reactive nitrogen species
- Reactive oxygen species