Type 1 Diabetes: Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol (or lipid) problems in people with type 1 diabetes are usually related to the lack of insulin.
- Lack of insulin increases the level of triglycerides. Normally, insulin makes a certain enzyme that removes triglycerides from the blood. When insulin is used to treat high blood sugar, the triglyceride level goes back to normal.
- A lack of insulin (and the high blood sugar that results) raises the level of "bad" cholesterol (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein). It returns to normal when insulin is given.
Data from the Diabetes Complications and Control Trial (DCCT) showed that people with type 1 diabetes had a lower incidence of heart disease when their blood sugars were kept within a target range. 1
This does not apply to people with nephropathy, because once the kidney starts losing even small amounts of protein, cholesterol problems begin to develop.
Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study Research Group (2005). Intensive diabetes treatment and cardiovascular disease in patients with type 1 diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine, 353(25): 2643–2653.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology|
|Last Revised||October 1, 2010|