Your liver does much more than you probably give it credit for. Not only does it prevent you from dying every time you have a little too much to drink at Happy Hour, but it’s central to the overall structure and function of your cells, and it also plays an important role in the creation and management of cholesterol. In fact, your liver produces the vast majority of cholesterol in your body, and if you’re living with familial hypercholesterolemia, you can also blame your liver for the difficulty in keeping your excessive cholesterol levels under control. Yes, the liver and cholesterol go hand in hand, but what does that mean for you in terms of cholesterol management?
Your Liver and Cholesterol – A Complex Relationship
The liver synthesizes cholesterol for export to other cells, but it’s also instrumental in removing cholesterol from the body. It does this by converting the cholesterol to bile salts and transferring the compounds into the bile, where they are ultimately expelled from the body. In addition, your liver synthesizes most of the necessary lipoproteins needed to transport cholesterol and lipids throughout your body. These processes allow you to manage your cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart…assuming that your liver is doing its job.
Your Liver and Cholesterol – When You Have Familial Hypercholesterolemia
For individuals living with familial hypercholesterolemia, the liver is unable to recycle the natural supply of cholesterol that’s constantly being produced. As a result, the cholesterol becomes dangerously overabundant, dramatically increasing the person’s risk of developing coronary heart disease. Imagine a malfunctioning garbage disposal that’s unable to break down and flush out debris. Each night, you spill more discarded food into the disposal, but the previous night’s food is still clogging up the pipes. As you can imagine, this is going to lead to a messy disaster before too long. If your liver isn’t properly filtering and recycling cholesterol, it’s not unlike that faulty garbage disposal.
Keeping Your Cholesterol Under Control
Your liver may be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to managing your cholesterol, but whatever the case, it’s important to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, eat plenty of healthy foods rich in soluble fiber, and minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. If you do suffer from familial hypercholesterolemia (like 1 in every 300 people do), you’ll also need to speak to your doctor about an appropriate course of action to keep the condition under control. Almost all individuals with FH require cholesterol-lowering medications, so don’t take your condition lightly. For more information on your liver and cholesterol, speak to a professional and get the help you need to live a long and prosperous life, free from the dangers of high cholesterol and heart disease.