Dr. Om Ganda explains diabetes and lipids, and how they affect your heart.
People with diabetes are prone to higher levels of blood fats (lipids) in their systems, putting them at increased risk for heart and blood vessel disease.
All patients with diabetes should have a lipid profile screening at least once a year to measure the level of blood fats in their blood. HDL levels (so-called “good” fats) should be greater than 40 in men and 50 in women; LDL levels (so-called “bad” fats) should be less than 100, and triglyceride levels should be under 150. Patients with heart or blood vessel disease may need to maintain even lower levels of LDL to prevent other health problems from developing.
Interventions for those with high levels of blood fats may include a referral to a dietitian who can help with lowering the overall fat content in your diet as well as helping you lose weight if needed.
Improved blood glucose control may also improve blood fat levels. Your healthcare team may also encourage an exercise program and may recommend an exercise tolerance test before you begin such a program.
These are generally the first courses of treatment for a lipid problem. Lipid-lowering medications may also be prescribed if your healthcare team finds that behavioral changes aren't having the desired effect, and a combination of several of these interventions may be recommended.
The team is under the medical direction of Om P. Ganda, M.D.
Page last updated: June 25, 2016