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Definition - What does cyclooxygenase mean?

Cyclooxygenase (COX) is an enzyme that produces prostaglandins, prostacyclins, and thromboxanes, biochemical agents that synthesize as integral components of the inflammatory response, a physiological reaction against arthritis. Cyclooxygenase comprises of two subclasses including COX-1 and COX-2, each contributing to the development of prostaglandins in stimulating inflammation, pain, and fever to begin the healing process.

SureHire explains cyclooxygenase

Cyclooxygenase is a vital enzyme because it is responsible for the intracellular activity of many systemic functions and processes in the body. COX-1 serves multiple roles, neutralizing the acidic content of digestive juices and promoting coagulation (clotting) while COX-2 serves the primary function of responding to damaged cartilage tissue with inflammation and pain. Joint inflammation can manifest as chronic pain spells, redness at the affected site, and range of motion (ROM) constraints, prompting the need for physical therapy combining moderate exercise to improve flexibility and mobility including cycling, walking, and yoga.

Physicians administer non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to help joint inflammation and pain recede, but medical evidence indicates adverse side effects can disrupt catalytic properties associated with cyclooxygenase. For instance, non-selective NSAIDs carry the dual effect of counteracting COX-1 and COX-2 to reduce inflammation, while also suppressing COX-1 in its cellular dispersion of the stomach lining to prevent gastrointestinal bleeding. While pharmacological advancements have been introduced to isolate COX-2, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since launched strict mandates given the epidemiological implications associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke concerning COX-2 NSAID use.

In the workplace, sedentary positions and jobs requiring frequent movement can exacerbate arthritis in different joints unless proper measures are taken to alleviate inflammation and pain. A physician may prescribe COX-2 NSAID given its marginal effects on the gastrointestinal tract while also being a more favorable alternative for individuals using blood thinners or with preexisting conditions such as asthma, hypertension (high blood pressure), or stomach ulcers. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities that may involve environmental modifications to meet job standards.

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