Present article gives a holistic view of the causes, role and conrol of oxidative stress in the development and progression of various human diseases. Several types of reactive species are generated in the body as a result of metabolic reactions in the form of free radicals or non-radicals. These species may be either oxygen derived or nitrogen derived and called prooxidants. They attack macromolecules including protein, DNA and lipid etc. causing cellular/tissue damage. To counter their effect, the body is endowed with another category of compounds called antioxidants. These antioxidants are produced either endogenously or received from exogenous sources and include enzymes like superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase, minerals like Se, Mn, Cu and Zn, and vitamins like vitamin A, C and E. Other compounds with antioxidant activity include glutathione, flavonoids, bilirubin and uric acid etc.. In a healthy body, prooxidants and antioxidants maintain a ratio and a shift in this ratio towards prooxidants gives rise to oxidative stress. This oxidative stress may be either mild or severe depending on the extent of shift and remains the cause of several diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, malignancies, renal diseases, diabetes, inflammatory problems, skin diseases, aging, respiratory diseases, liver diseases and different types of viral infections. As more and more reports are pouring in, a lot of information is being unfolded about oxidative stress in relation to several other diseases.