Liver Function and Cholesterol


There is a close relationship between the liver function and the cholesterol levels. Problems in the liver can lead to changes in the blood cholesterol and vice versa.

How the liver function affects the cholesterol levels

The main function of the liver is to produce bile. This fluid helps the body digest fats and clear cholesterol. If your liver is damaged, its function will get impaired, leading to the increase in cholesterol levels. As a result, fats and cholesterol will build up in the liver and blood. Conversely, high cholesterol levels in your blood can lead to further damage to the liver. For example, the buildup of fat in the liver may cause nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or fatty liver.

Liver function complications

Problems in the liver function prevent the liver from properly processing the cholesterol. Below are some conditions that count.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the common type of liver malfunction. Twenty-five percent of the world population is affected by NAFLD.  Those who are overweight or have diabetes are at higher risk.

NAFLD links to dyslipidemia, which is a condition marked by abnormal levels of cholesterol and similar compounds in the blood. NAFLD is also associated with lipodystrophy, which refers to the irregularities of the body in distributing fats.

NAFLD consists of a wide range of conditions, including NASH (a more serious non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). And, NASH may be a precursor of cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma.


Cirrhosis results from long-term injury to the liver due to alcohol abuse or certain diseases like hepatitis. Cirrhosis leaves scars in the liver, preventing it from performing basic metabolic functions. Therefore, cirrhosis leads to the rise in cholesterol levels.


Drugs can damage the liver badly. Since the organ’s major function is to metabolize chemicals in the body, it is vulnerable to damages brought about by medicines, from prescription, over-the-counter, to recreational kind.

The effects of high cholesterol

Excessively high levels of bad cholesterol LDL allow fats to build up in the arteries, making it difficult for the blood to reach the heart. Moreover, when LDL dominates HDL, the body becomes unable to clear plaques and get rid of fatty deposits. Those conditions put people at risks of developing heart disease and heart attack.


Certain changes in lifestyle and diet would offer benefits for both liver functions and cholesterol levels. One should maintain healthy body weight, control blood-sugar levels and limit their alcohol consumption. Besides, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet are also important.

When to see a doctor

To make sure your liver is cured timely, seek medical help to see these signs and symptoms:

  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fluid accumulated within the abdomen
  • Frequent bruising

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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