Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Cholesterol and Diabetes: Getting to the Heart of It

If you are one of 18 million Americans affected by diabetes, you already know how important it is to monitor your blood sugar levels. However, do you also keep close track of your blood lipids? Abnormal levels of blood lipids, which are actually fats in your blood, can lead to cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Many people with diabetes have an abnormal lipid profile -- high-density lipoproteins or HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels that are too low, and triglyceride levels that are too high. Also, low-density lipoproteins or LDL (bad cholesterol) particles are unusually small and dense, which can be especially harmful to blood vessels. This combination of factors is known as diabetic dyslipidemia, and can lead to heart attack and stroke.

"Diabetic dyslipidemia means your lipid profile is going in the wrong direction", said Mehmood Khan, M.D., F.A.C.E., senior vice president for Medical and Scientific Affairs, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. "It is a deadly combination that puts patients at risk for premature coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis -- where the arteries become clogged with fat".

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 70 to 97 percent of individuals with diabetes have diabetic dyslipidemia. To decrease complications from this condition, people with diabetes need to control their lipids as carefully as they monitor their blood sugar. In fact, the American Heart Association reports that for every one percent you lower your LDL cholesterol, you reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by one percentage point.

There are steps you can take on your own to manage your lipid profile and diabetes. This includes making sure you have healthy eating habits, and incorporating some form of physical activity into your daily routine. These lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of complications from diabetes, and raise your chances for a healthy life.

Another step to controlling your lipid profile is to schedule an appointment with your physician or health care provider to have your blood lipid levels checked. If there are any problems, you can work with your physician to develop a treatment plan that is right for you, which may include cholesterol-lowering medication. If you are currently prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes, ask your physician about its effects on your cholesterol, as some diabetes medications may have the potential to impact your cholesterol profile.

Courtesy of ARA Content