One Of The Top Reasons For Liver Transplants Might Surprise You

To stay in tip-top health, the organs in our body should be functioning properly. Take our liver, for instance. Johns Hopkins Medicine states that this vital organ is responsible for over 500 functions necessary to manage our overall health. A few of these functions include producing certain proteins for blood plasma, removing bacteria from the bloodstream, and metabolizing drugs so that they become nontoxic for the body's absorption.

Seeing as how busy the human liver stays to keep us free of harmful toxins and bacteria, it's necessary to be mindful of this vital organ's health. To keep your liver healthy, the American Liver Foundation recommends maintaining a healthy weight, practicing safe sex, and avoiding the overuse of alcohol and illegal drugs, among other tips. Unfortunately, the liver can be easily abused by poor health choices and unforeseen medical conditions resulting in the need for a liver transplant. That said, there is a surprising reason as to why many individuals are in need of a new liver. Hint — it's likely lurking in your medicine cabinet.

Acetaminophen is found in over 200 different medicines

To avoid being added to the national donor list for a new liver, it's essential to keep track of all the drugs that you are taking. Even the ones that seem harmless, like Tylenol. Acetaminophen, which is found in the over-the-counter drug Tylenol used to reduce fevers and minor pains, can damage your liver if too much is ingested, per the American Addiction Centers. And Medscape shares that acetaminophen toxicity is the number-one reason for liver transplants in Great Britain. And in the U.S., overuse of acetaminophen is the second-most common reason for liver failure.

Acetaminophen is found in over 200 types of medication, states MedNet. But before you rid your household of Tylenol, and all other drugs containing the popular pain reliever, take a breath. The American Addiction Centers asserts that unintentional or accidental overdose of acetaminophen can be avoided if you closely monitor which medicines you are taking. For adults, a safe dosage is consuming no more than 4,000 mg in a 24-hour period. Overdoses can happen when individuals abuse the drugs Vicodin or Percocet, which also contain acetaminophen as an active ingredient. 

WebMD shares that liver failure can happen over a period of time or suddenly. So do your best to look after your liver even when you feel healthy. This includes keeping a close eye on all the medicines you are taking — even OTC drugs like Tylenol that seem harmless. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).