High Cholesterol and Diabetes: What You Should Know.
By Jesus Chirino
Being a diabetic increases your risk of having high cholesterol, a condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke. Heart disease alone is the number one killer for both men and women in the United States, so high cholesterol is a condition that should not be taken lightly. It is vital for you to know how high cholesterol affects your health and what you can do to prevent the serious complications associated with it. This article will give you basic information on high cholesterol, the effects that it has on the body and what you can do to stay healthy, keeping your diabetes and cholesterol under control.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that the body uses for many important functions, including to help digest fat and to produce Vitamin D. The body needs cholesterol, but when there is too much of it in the blood, it can build up inside the arteries, narrow them or even clog them. This serious condition, called atherosclerosis, can lead to heart attack or stroke.
There are different types of cholesterol in the body that have different functions. It is important to become familiar with each one of them and to learn what levels of each is healthy for your body.
LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) is also known as bad cholesterol. This is the cholesterol that builds up in the arteries and can cause atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. In order to decrease the risks associated with it, LDL levels must be lowered.
HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) is also known as good cholesterol. This type of cholesterol helps clean up you arteries and remove any build up. Opposed to LDL levels, good cholesterol levels need to be high in order to decrease the risks of heart attack and stroke.
If you are a diabetic, the American Diabetes Association recommends these targets for your cholesterol levels:
LDL Cholesterol: Below 100 mg/dl
HDL Cholesterol: Above 50 mg/dl
What is the Treatment for High Cholesterol?
When it comes to treating high cholesterol, the news is good. Lifestyle changes will help you get your cholesterol levels to the needed targets. Medications may also be needed. Discuss with your health care professional what medicine is right for you and what your treatment options are.
Here are some basic lifestyle changes that will help keep your cholesterol levels under control:
Eat Healthier – Start eating less fat, change your dairy products to low fat or fat free and stay away from foods high in cholesterol. Read food labels and try grilling your food instead of frying it. These basic steps will get you on your way to a healthier lifestyle without high cholesterol.
Exercise - Staying physically active is another major step to controlling your cholesterol. Try to get in a daily regimen where you exercise at least 30 minutes a day. If you are not used to exercising on a regular basis, start slowly and work your way up. Regular exercise will reward you with an overall healthier lifestyle.
Reduce Alcohol Intake – If you are going to drink alcohol, drink moderately. Limit your daily intake to two servings if you are a man and one serving if you are a woman.
Quit Smoking: Smoking is a very unhealthy habit that could have many negative effects on your health. Quitting smoking will help you maintain cholesterol levels on target.
High cholesterol and diabetes are a dangerous combination that could result in very serious conditions like heart attack and stroke. The great news is that following a healthy lifestyle will help you control both your blood glucose and cholesterol levels simultaneously. Don't away another day, prevent the serious complications associated with diabetes and high cholesterol today!
About the Author
Jesus Chirino is webmaster of Your Life with Diabetes, a website dedicated to providing free diabetes information and resources.
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