Diabetes and Cholesterol

Diabetic people, at least once a year, must have a blood test to measure

  • triglycerides,
  • low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol,
  • high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol

Having diabetes is now considered a high risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases. This is because people with diabetes can’t process the cholesterol and triglycerides efficiently.

Many people with diabetes share a common pattern of:

  • moderately raised triglycerides
  • low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • Small dense LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)

Diabetes tends to lower “good” cholesterol levels and raise triglyceride and “bad” cholesterol levels, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. This common condition is called diabetic dyslipidemia. It is this distinctive pattern of dyslipidaemia (altered blood fats) that increases the risk of heart and circulatory disease in people with diabetes.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance (lipid) which is made in the body by the liver and is also found in some foods. Cholesterol is needed for normal body function and your liver makes enough for your body’s needs so that you don’t need to eat any cholesterol at all. Too much of cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of getting heart and circulatory diseases.

Cholesterol does not deposit around your waist like a fat. However it’s carried through your bloodstream by carriers made of fat (lipid) and proteins called  lipo-proteins.

Two types of lipo-proteins carry cholesterol to and from cells

(A) Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL:

       LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” because too much is unhealthy.

(B) High-density lipoprotein, or HDL:

       HDL is often referred to as “good cholesterol” because it is protective.

Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. The amount of each type of cholesterol in your blood can be measured by a blood test.Knowing your levels of these can help explain your risk of heart disease. Your doctor should be able to tell you your levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol.