Altered Oxygenation in Aging,Smoking and StressAltered oxygenation in aging, smoking and stress is a predictable phenomenon proven by science and researches over more than a decade now. Aging is inevitable as man’s body grows older and aged with time. Smoking is avoidable but overly addicting to be controlled. Stress is a part of our daily lives and manageable by our defense mechanism. But a combination of these three makes it difficult for the human body to thrive. Different studies have proven the substantial effects of aging, smoking and stress in the normal oxygenation processes of the human body.

Ances et al (2009) have proven the considerable effects of aging on the cerebral blood flow, oxygen metabolism and blood oxygenation level dependent responses to visual stimulation by using the calibrated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that provides a non-invasive procedure to quantify the functional metabolic changes linked with aging

Sorensen et al. (2009), physiologic studies proven that a temporary tissue acidosis occurs after smoking due to the decrease in blood flow and poor tissue oxygenation.

Epel (2009) stated that chronic stress can affect health through different behavioral and biochemical pathways which emerge with synergistic effects on co-elevation of cortisol and insulin, and suppression of certain anabolic hormones. Moreover, she affirmed that stress itself can cause cellular aging.

 Aging,Smoking and Stress Pathophysiology Schematic Diagram

Aging, smoking and stress are the three possible causes and risk factors for altered oxygenation. Stress releases hormones that affect the normal functioning of the blood vessels. As the person grows older, aging affects the integrity of the blood vessels. Smoking—which gives nicotine and tar molecules that circulate within the body—adversely affects the blood components, causing less production of oxyhemoglobin and reducing the diameter of the blood vessels. These etiologies act as the stressors to the normal mechanism of oxygenation which prompts the body to react by means of the sympathetic nervous system that releases hormones and chemicals. These rapidly result to the vasoconstriction of the blood vessels. The constricted the blood vessels are, the slower is the circulation. Poor circulation affects the transport of oxygenated blood to the tissues and cells. In the case of hypertension, where there is an increase intravascular pressure due to sluggish blood flow—blood vessels are greatly damaged in the process, causing disruption in the circulation and poor transport of oxygenated blood to the cells, leading to loss of consciousness (Balabagno et al, 2006; Smeltzer & Bare, 2004).



[tabsnice] [tabnice title=”1″] Ances, B.M. et al. (2009). Effects of Aging on Cerebral Blood Flow, Oxygen Metabolism, and Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent Responses to Visual Stimulation. Human Brain Mapping, 30(4), 1120–1132. Balabagno, A.V., Tuazon, J.A. & Cruz, J.G. (2006). Pathophysiology. Philippines: UP Open University, 88–103; 113–213. Epel, E.S. (2009). Psychological and Metabolic Stress: A Recipe for Accelerated Cellular Aging?. Hormones, 8(1), 7–22. [/tabnice] [tabnice title=”2″] Smeltzer, S.C. & Bare, B.G. (2004). Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, 10th Ed. PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 278–281, 463–470, 647–653. Sorensen, L.T. et al. (2009). Acute Effects of Nicotine and Smoking on Blood Flow, Tissue Oxygen, and Aerobe Metabolism of the Skin and Subcutis. Journal of Surgical Research, 152, 224–230. [/tabnice] [/tabsnice]

She is currently working as a medical-surgical nurse at Ministry of Health, Sultanate of Oman. A writer, blogger, researcher, correspondent and publication consultant for nursing journal and health-related educational websites. Her field of specialization focused on Intensive Care and Emergency Management. She is now taking up MAN major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the Philippines Open University. A nursing professor for 8 years in the Philippines and served as a staff nurse at UST hospital. A caring and devoted nurse who introduced a “Pinay Nightingale” in the land of the pharaohs. A nurse by profession, an educator by devotion and a writer / researcher by passion.