Acetaminophen, asthma and COPD: What you need to know before itís too late

An assessment of data out of Nottingham, England from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey tracking 13,500 U.S. adults has determined frequent use of acetaminophen can lead to higher risk of asthma and COPD. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a potentially fatal progressive obstructive lung disease. (have you been warned by your doctor?)

Acetaminophen, which is most widely known by the brand name Tylenol, can cause these complications to lung health when used daily or regularly (6 to 29 times per month). As a result of this research, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are now associated with decreased lung functioning.

And, yes, these results were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. So, you can share this news with your family doctor and know that this information is well-grounded in the medical literature.

Acetaminophen side effects worse than other NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin
The data from 13,500 U.S. adults was assessed by researchers from the University of Nottingham, England in 2005. The participants had submitted information regarding their use of acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin between the years of 1988 and 1994.

While the other painkillers were considered, it was determined that the risks related to COPD, asthma and overall lung functioning were the highest in those who used acetaminophen the most frequently.

The researchers believe that high levels of acetaminophen in the bloodstream have the effect of lowering levels of a key lung antioxidant called glutathione. As a result, acetaminophen users develop a higher risk of lung tissue damage due to depleted glutathione levels.

This in turn puts them at a higher risk for a range of respiratory diseases. The findings suggest that oxidative processes play a role in the onset and pathogenesis of COPD and asthma.

Daily acetaminophen use increases asthma and COPD risk by over 70 percent
These results along with past research findings have led to the belief that acetaminophen exacerbates the onset, progression and severity of asthma and other lung conditions. Again, there was no discernible association between ibuprofen or aspirin use and lung issues like, COPD and asthma.

In all, daily acetaminophen users were a stunning 72 percent more likely to have COPD and 75 percent more likely to have asthma. Markers for lung functioning were impaired across the boards for acetaminophen users. And, patients using acetaminophen 6 to 29 times per month were 40 percent more likely to have asthma.

Other acetaminophen side effects Ė including liver damage
In addition to Tylenol, acetaminophen is an active ingredient in over 600 other prescription and over-the counter medicines. It is found in cold medications and cough suppressants as well.

Past research focused on acetaminophen side effects has linked excessive use of the drug with a higher potential for liver damage. An assessment of 22 U.S. medical centers by the Acute Liver Failure Study Group regarding acetaminophen use found that acetaminophen hepatotoxicity far exceeded other causes of liver failure.

Other acetaminophen side effects can include nausea, blood in the urine or stool, fever, rash, sudden fatigue, bruising and mouth sores. To avoid acetaminophen side effects, consider natural alternatives for pain relief such as an anti-inflammatory diet, turmeric, chili pepper (capsaicin), essential oils or white willow bark.

Even a light exercise routine combined with lots of stretching can go a long way toward eliminating minor aches and pains. Bottom line: For chronic pain situations Ė know that there are many natural ways to relieve pain, without the need for toxic medications.

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