Diabetes is a serious disease that effects the body’s ability to produce or respond to normal insulin levels in your body. This results in abnormalities in how your body breaks down carbohydrates and can elevate levels of glucose. Individuals that suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop unhealthy levels of cholesterol, known as LDL levels. Having low cholesterol can lead to heart complications like stroke or heart attack. With the proper treatments, cholesterol is something that can be easily managed in preventing heart disease.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. Everyone has cholesterol in their bodies but individuals with diabetes have unusually high levels. With high LDL levels in the blood comes the blockage of circulation within the arteries. When blood vessels become too narrow it diminishes the amount of blood that is necessary to get to the heart.
The 2 types of cholesterol in your body are LDL and HDL. LDL levels refer to the bad cholesterol in your body that you should try to maintain at a lower rate. It is important to keep healthy levels of HDL because these help break down fatty tissues that are blocking blood from reaching your heart. Another factor to keep in mind are your triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood that, if not maintained properly, can lead to serious heart problems.
Understanding the Numbers
It is extremely important, as a person living with diabetes, to understand the amount of cholesterol in their body. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), most adults with diabetes should aim for an LDL level of less than 100 mg/dl. The ADA also recommends that men should maintain HDL levels greater than 40 mg/dl and women greater than 50 mg/dl. In regards to triglyceride levels, it is recommended that both men and women aim for levels less than 150 mg/dl. The variable mg/dl stands for milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, the standard unit of measure for cholesterol.
Individuals with diabetes need to take into consideration their intake of total carbohydrates in order to properly monitor their overall cholesterol levels. The body does not react to overly high/low cholesterol levels so regular testing is recommended.