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Perspectives

Dyslipidaemia in diabetes: a common problem worth treating to target

Alicia J Jenkins, David N O’Neal

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Abstract

Dyslipidaemia is a common problem in people with diabetes. Quantitative and qualitative changes in lipoproteins are thought to contribute to cardiovascular and microvascular complications. Lipid-lowering drugs, such as statins and fibrates, are therefore often required to achieve the recommended lipid levels.

Key Points

  • Dyslipidaemia is associated with, and predictive of, atherosclerotic events, as well as diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  • Lipid levels should be checked regularly in people with diabetes and any adverse lifestyle factors or concurrent medical conditions treated.
  • Lifestyle interventions for improving lipid levels and decreasing cardiovascular risk in people with diabetes include a healthy diet and weight loss (ideally supported by a dietitian), smoking cessation and increased exercise if appropriate.
  • Use of lipid-lowering drugs, in particular statins (for LDL-cholesterol control) and fibrates (for triglyceride control), are often required to achieve the recommended lipid levels.
  • Repeated biochemical assessments and counselling are desirable to ensure safe and effective long-term adherence to a lipid control regimen that will reduce the cardiovascular risk in people with diabetes.

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