Dyslipidemia is a condition characterized by high levels of lipids in the blood. Although dyslipidemia affects diabetics as well as non-diabetics, poor insulin function and related hyperglycemia prevents the normal elimination of lipids from the blood. Dyslipidemia in diabetics causes significant increase in the triglyceride levels and reduction in the high-density lipoprotein or the good cholesterol in the blood.
However, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level in diabetics with dyslipidemia is not significantly different from that in non-diabetics. Nonetheless, prevalence of denser and smaller particles of LDL cholesterol in the blood, make diabetics susceptible to cardiovascular diseases.
Tips to Prevent Dyslipidemia in Diabetics
The risk of coronary artery diseases in diabetics can be diminished by improving the lipid profile of the blood. Dyslipidemia in diabetics can be controlled with nutritional changes, increased physical activities and maintaining normal body weight. You may also need lipid-lowering drugs to prevent abnormal increase in the lipid concentration in the blood.
A fat restricted and low glycemic index diet is recommended for diabetic dyslipidemia patients. The ideal diet of diabetics with a risk of developing dyslipidemia should contain sufficient whole grains, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat healthy protein. While intake of saturated fats increases the triglycerides and LDL levels in the blood, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids help to improve the lipid profile.
Fatty fish, olive oil, avocado and vegetable oils are major sources of essential fats in the diet. Consuming 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids in supplemental form such as fish oil pill or flaxseed oil is beneficial for diabetics with dyslipidemia. It helps to reduce the triglyceride levels and stabilizes cardiac function. A fiber rich diet is also recommended for maintaining the normal blood sugar and lipid levels. By slowing down digestion, fibers prevent sudden spike in the blood sugar level. By binding with the fats in the digestive tract, fibers facilitate their elimination from the body.
Regular physical activity improves insulin sensitivity, maintains normal body weight and supports fat metabolism, thereby preventing dyslipidemia in diabetics.
At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activities for five days each week helps to optimize the sugar and lipid levels. You may even consider including vigorous activities such as house cleaning, gardening, running or brisk walking for about 10 minutes duration in your daily diet.
Despite healthy lifestyle choices, most diabetics require medications to prevent dyslipidemia.
Glucose Lowering Drugs
Glucose lowering medications help to modify the lipid concentration in the blood. By reducing the glucose level, most of these drugs help to reduce the triglyceride level. They may cause modest improvement in the HDL levels.
Lipid Lowering Drugs
Statins are usually used as a first line treatment for preventing dyslipidemia in diabetics. They can halve the LDL level in the blood. They cause moderate reduction in the triglyceride levels. Statins are used either alone or are combined with other lipid lowering agents.
Fibric acids or fibrates can arrest abnormal increase in the triglyceride levels. They can also raise the HDL level in the blood. For overall improvement in the lipid profile of diabetics, combination therapy with statin and fibrate is recommended by physicians.
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