Type 2 Diabetes – The Cholesterol and Diabetes Connection
A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is not to be taken lightly. It can be a fearsome disorder, as excess sugar in the bloodstream is extremely damaging to your body. While diabetes affects blood vessels and how they transport nutrients throughout your body, it also has another profound effect. Type 2 diabetes has the dual duty of lowering your “good” cholesterol level while simultaneously raising your “bad” cholesterol level.
When there is too much of the “bad” cholesterol or LDL, it has the tendency to attach itself to the walls of arteries. Here, it forms plaque which not only impedes blood flow but allows pressure to build or, as it is more commonly known, high blood pressure. It also has the nasty ability to lead to some other ailments, the most notably of which is heart disease.
But that isn’t the only action taking place. At the same time the LDL levels continue to increase, the body is systematically lowering HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels. Since HDL is necessary for getting rid of LDL, it paves the way for LDL cholesterol levels to continue to escalate. Your bad cholesterol level goes up, good cholesterol level comes down!
Since uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes has such a profound effect on cholesterol levels, it is imperative cholesterol be kept in check. This is more than just elevated cholesterol readings at a doctor’s appointment. This affects atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is a result of the plaque buildup mentioned earlier.
Anytime you impede blood flow, you are asking for major trouble. It might start out as shortness of breath or slight chest pain and discomfort, but eventually it will transpire into something no one wants to consider: a heart attack! Or, along the same lines, you could have a stroke instead. In either case, cholesterol is something that you don’t want to ignore.
Anyone with high cholesterol should heed these warning signs, but this is especially significant for those who also have Type 2 diabetes. The best way to combat cholesterol is to prevent it from having the chance to become elevated in the first place. That means a comprehensive plan to keep it down to more manageable levels.
Prevention is a two-fold plan. It involves exercise and diet. For individuals who are in their proper weight range, they should be exercising at least 30 minutes per day, 5 to 6 time a week. Overweight people should increase the time to between 60 and 90 minutes. Exercise has an impact on several factors that are part of Type 2 diabetes… blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and HDL cholesterol levels. Many studies have shown regular exercise improves:
lowers LDL cholesterol levels,
raises HDL cholesterol levels, and
lowers triglyceride levels.
All these improvements are helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Cutting out fatty foods and limiting alcohol are also crucial. The most effective diets are those that eliminate animal products altogether. Many studies have revealed following this sort of diet cut LDL cholesterol by more than 20 percent. Incorporating high amounts of fiber in your diet are also part of the overall plan to help combat heart disease.