Cholesterol is important for overall health, but when levels are too high, cholesterol can be harmful as it can cause narrow or blocked arteries. Unfortunately, people with diabetes are more prone to having high cholesterol levels, which lead to heart diseases. Diabetic dyslipidemia is a dangerous combination that puts people at risk of premature coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. Diabetes often lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels and raises triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Both of these increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. High cholesterol levels can be dangerous as they form stiff plaque. Plaque damage arteries, making them stiff and narrow, which eventually inhibit blood flow. The heart has to work harder to pump blood and risk of heart attacks and stroke go up. Even if you keep your blood sugar levels under control, your LDL cholesterol levels could still increase. The main goal is to reduce your risk of heart diseases and stroke.
In this video, Dr. Leena Appicatlaa, Humain Health’s Senior Medical Director, speaks about how your risk of diabetes could affect your cholesterol levels.
How can you reduce your cholesterol levels?
– Check your levels regularly
Regular monitoring of your blood sugar and cholesterol levels will help. It enables you to understand how much progress you have made.
– Make healthier lifestyle choices
There are some well-known lifestyle choices that clearly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. You probably know all of these, but just be sure that you are doing everything you can to follow them:
1) Quit smoking and avoid passive smoking
2) Maintain a healthy weight
3) Exercise regularly
– Dietary changes
You may be eating healthy food but you may notice that your cholesterol levels are still the same. It is important to pay attention to the kind of fat you are consuming. Avoid full fat milk and cheese, high fat meats like sausage and bacon, and foods cooked with butter and coconut oils, as these foods are sources of bad cholesterol. Rather, consume foods rich in good cholesterol, such as avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Also, add more fibre to your diet. Soluble fibre is very important. Examples of foods that contain soluble fibre include oats, bran, fruits, beans, lentils and veggies.
Diabetes and high cholesterol can often occur together, but there are ways to manage both conditions. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and monitoring your cholesterol levels when you have diabetes are two of the most important ways of managing both conditions. The more you know about factors that influence your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, the more you can anticipate fluctuations. If you are having trouble keeping your levels under control, ask your healthcare provider for help.
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People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or stroke. The good news: eating well and getting active can help lower risk.
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