Diabetes and Cholesterol

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Diabetes and Cholesterol

by Valerie on August 18, 2010


The Connection Between Diabetes and High Cholesterol

If you have diabetes, you are probably already aware of the difficulties it creates when it comes to heart health. People with diabetes are classified as higher risk for heart disease and stroke and thus their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are of special concern. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, people with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

What are the main things to watch out for when it comes to your cholesterol if you have diabetes?

Cholesterol Problems

Your bad (LDL) cholesterol can clog up your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Diabetes often contributes to the lowering of good (HDL) cholesterol and the elevation of your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels. This is called diabetic dyslipidemia. With this knowledge, you should be sure to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) suggests performing a cholesterol test at least once every 5 years for adults over 20, but your doctor will recommend testing more frequently if you have a heart disease risk factor like diabetes. You will also have to work harder than a non-diabetic at keeping your cholesterol levels low.

The American Diabetes Association recommended cholesterol levels for someone who has diabetes are as follows:

  • LDL cholesterol – less than 100 mg/dl
  • HDL cholesterol – less than 40 mg/dl
  • Triglycerides – less than 150 mg/dl

In comparison, someone without diabetes or heart disease can get away with an LDL of less than 160 mg/dL.

The Good News About Cholesterol

The good thing about cholesterol management for a diabetic is that many of the steps being taken to combat diabetes will help you keep your cholesterol where it needs to be. Eating well and exercising are important to managing diabetes and cholesterol. Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are good for your cholesterol and your diabetes alike. Oatmeal and nuts are also recommended foods for those trying to control diabetes and/or cholesterol. Olive oil does double-duty as well; it helps to avoid symptoms of insulin resistance while also lowering bad cholesterol. An exercise plan for diabetes will require forethought so that you don’t overdo it, but it is likely to improve your overall cholesterol health.

As science continues to advance, new medications and better treatments will arise and make our health problems more manageable. Eating well and exercising are timeless ways to stay in control of your health, but don’t be afraid to seek out your doctor and ask about medications that can help you with your diabetes and cholesterol (make sure too with your doctor that your medications for cholesterol will not interfere with your diabetes medications, and vice versa). The benefits of doing so are great for your cholesterol levels, your diabetes management, and much more.

This is a guest post by Robyn Schelenz of the company Home Health Testing. Located in Wilmington, North Carolina, Home Health Testing sells a variety of diabetes and cholesterol related products, including a cholesterol test that you can use at home.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stephen Guy-Clarke August 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Simple cardioprotective food choices for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Increase consumption of:
Porridge Oats
Oily fish – mackerel, salmon, herring
Unsalted nuts, seeds
Olive Oil
Tea, especially green tea
Blueberries, prunes, strawberries
Fruit and vegetables
Beans and pulses

Reduce/Avoid consumption of:
Fried foods
White bread, pasta
Biscuits, soft drinks
Excess alcohol/spirits
Excess saturated/hydrogenated fats
High sodium foods – e.g. bacon, tinned soup, pickles
Table sugar – FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharrides) powder is an ideal substitute sweetener and valuable fibre source

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