Diabetes & High Cholesterol
If you have diabetes, you should have your blood cholesterol level screened once a year. This is because having diabetes increases your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
If you have diabetes, your risk for heart disease and stroke is the same as people who already have heart disease. Because of this, your target LDL levels should be lower than the average person's.
- LDL 100 mg/dL
- HDL 40+ mg/dL (60 would be better)
- Triglycerides 150
Diabetes effect on cholesterol
Unfortunately, diabetes causes a condition called diabetic dyslipidemia. This lowers your good cholesterol and raises your bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also increases your risk of heart disease. Scientists have now linked insulin resistance to diabetic dyslipidemia. Insulin resistance happens when your body can't process the insulin it has produced. It is the forerunner to type 2 diabetes. Most people who are diabetic are also insulin resistant.
What other factors affect cholesterol levels?
Some factors are beyond your control, like age and gender, but there are plenty of things you can change to reduce your chances of contracting heart disease:
- Lose weight: This will increase your HDL levels and decrease your LDL levels. Being overweight increases your risk of developing heart disease.
- Change your diet: eat less saturated fat and cholesterol. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Get more exercise: Being active for 30-60 minutes each day will lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
- Be aware of your medications: some medications may increase your cholesterol levels
- Quit smoking: smoking lowers your HDL levels.
What should I eat?
Diet is important for a diabetic because it helps control blood sugar. Make sure you serve moderate portions and eat at about the same times every day. Here are some more guidelines:
- Complex carbohydrates: Eat fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains. Eating the same amount of complex carbohydrates each day will help keep your blood sugar from fluctuating.
- Fiber: This comes from the parts of plant foods you can't digest. Insoluble fiber is good for digestion. Soluble fiber lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Fats: Only 7 percent of your total calories should come from saturated fat. Don't eat trans fats at all. When you eat fat, choose good fats instead. Canola and olive oil are unsaturated fats and can help lower your cholesterol. But don't overdue it, fats have a lot of calories.
- Cholesterol: Eat 200 mg or less each day. Look out for eggs, whole milk and organ meat.
- Fish: Eat it twice a week. Cod, halibut and tuna have less fat and cholesterol than poultry and meat. Herring, salmon and mackerel have omega-3 fatty acids, which lower triglycerides.
Photo Credit: TBPL