Everybody needs to reduce the risk of heart and circulation
problems by being careful about diet, exercise and avoiding smoking.
Part of that risk is the amount of fat in the blood stream. People with
diabetes have a greater risk of circulation problems and it is very important
to control the blood stream fats.
What are the blood stream fats?
a type of fat (lipid) made by the body. It is essential for good health
and is found in every cell in the body. Triglycerides are another sort
of fat and is important in allowing us to maintain our energy balance.
These blood fats are often called lipids and an excessive amount is
What are the different kinds of cholesterol?
are two main kinds of cholesterol or blood fats often called “good
and “bad” although this is a bit of a crude way of looking
at it. HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease and it tends to
be lower in people with diabetes. LDL cholesterol is deposited in your
blood vessels and is associated with circulation problems such as heart
disease. Adding both together gives the total cholesterol and its important
to remember that it’s the balance between the two is important.
How does diabetes affect my blood
Many people with diabetes have problems with their blood
lipid levels. The HDL may be low, the LDL high and there will be an
excess of triglyceride fat.
What causes high blood fats?
are several things that may lead to abnormal blood fats and high blood
cholesterol: a diet that’s high in fat and in cholesterol,
lack of exercise and being overweight and drinking alcohol excessively.
Who should have a cholesterol and
blood fat test?
All people with diabetes aged over 35 should
have their cholesterol and blood fats measured at least every year.
It must be tested if they have risk factors such as family history
of early heart disease, high blood pressure and they are smoking. Anyone
who already has a circulation problem such as heart disease or stroke
should have their cholesterol measured.
What are the other important factors?
blood fats are only one part of the equation in the risk for circulation
problems. This risk goes up with age and hugely increases with smoking.
Blood pressure is an important factor. A poor diet, being overweight
and being unfit and inactive also contribute.
How will I know if my cholesterol
This all depends on your risk, the balance of
good and bad cholesterol and not always the absolute cholesterol reading.
Your risk can be calculated quite simply by putting your age, sex,
blood pressure and smoking habits into an equation. If you already
have a circulation problem, then you will almost certainly need cholesterol
What is the treatment?
main aim of lowering cholesterol is to reduce the risk of heart and circulation
disease. There are two ways to treat high cholesterol but remember that,
at the same time, weight, exercise, smoking, diabetes control and blood
pressure must be dealt with.
The first is simple with lifestyle changes
including diet, managing weight, increasing exercise and quitting
smoking. The second is to combine lifestyle changes with cholesterol
and blood fat lowering medicines. When such treatments are given it is
nearly always the case that aspirin is given as well in order to lower
the risk of blocking the circulation.
Seeking advice and what care to
The management of the risk to your circulation is complex.
You should expect good diet and lifestyle advice, good control of
your diabetes and blood pressure and help and support to stop smoking.
Your blood fats will be measured regularly and the risk of a circulation
problem calculated.According to the result you will be advised
about the need for tablet treatment to lower the blood fats and the need
for aspirin. I you already have had a heart or circulation problem
you will almost certainly be on aspirin and a cholesterol treatment,
if you are not, ask why.
Diabetes UK proivde further information regarding diet and nutrition.
If you wish to visit these pages - click