Tylenol has apparently started an advertising campaign to warn people about abuse of acetaminophen and liver damage. The television commercial, which I saw while I was running on the treadmill at the gym, explains how your liver processes almost everything you ingest. If you take too much acetaminophen you can harm your liver. You might take the right amount, but other drugs you take could also contain it. An example is taking a prescribed pain med such as vicodin and then an hour later taking two extra strength tylenol. The other problem is that many people think that if two pills are good three must be better.
This public service campaign and its focus on maintaining a healthy liver reminds me of a paper I wrote when I was taking a graduate course in public health nursing. In “American Indian and Alaska Native: A Healthy People 2000 Proposal”, my partner and I envisioned a healthy liver curriculum that would teach young peoples about the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol and the harm it can cause the liver. Of course Scientific Temperance Instruction, a major aspect of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union program, involved showing a classroom of young students a shriveled up liver in a jar Recently A Good Beer Blog was questioning the validity of research showing that as little of a pint of beer can damage your liver.
Alcohol related disease often goes unreported as a cause of death. From the public health perspective alcohol abuse is most often the problem with an ensuing focus on the psychosocial dynamic misuse of alcohol engenders. Although society often characterizes alcoholism as a disease, both scholars and practitioners often slight the physical aspects of the disease. Further complicating matters research shows that some alcohol consumption is healthy, particularly for the cardiovascular system. Heart disease is the number one killer of Indians and non-Indians alike.