Hi there! I recently read that with diabetes comes the concern for higher risk for heart disease and high cholesterol. I went for a standard blood test the other day and my results came back with a higher level of LDL’s than normal. I am only 21 years old and have had diabetes for about 8 years. Does any other fellow T1D struggle with high cholesterol too? What are some things you guys have done to deal with it/lower it? Its so frustrating to think of dealing with this ON TOP of all the other struggles I have to deal with because of this disease!
Hi Hannah @hannahlarson,
I know of two effective ways to help keep cholesterol at “healthy” levels and a combination of the two have effectively worked for me. The two: diet and medication.
Several years ago one of my doctors noted that I was going higher [I was about 160 total cho] than the 100 Total cholesterol that was at that time recommended, so he recommended a statin for me. Around the same time, my wife was concerned about hers and she didn’t want medication so she gradually modified our diet adding more fish suppers, using olive oils in meal preparations instead of butter and many other healthy things - turns out I enjoy eating what she prepares and now my total cho is less than 120, bad stuff is in the 30s and the good stuff is about 80.
The other factor in cholesterol maintenance is a healthy activity level which also keeps muscles well toned and weight at healthy levels. Any of the three could work for you but I find the combination of all three works best for me and does not create a burden because it has become a part of my life. In a way now, I wish I has developed the caring and concern like you 54 years ago - your age.
i agree with all the great stuff @Dennis just said.
I also think the T1’s get stuffed in with all the T2’s and, in my opinion, that’s why there is a “higher risk of heart disease…” when discussing diabetes complications in general. Since T2 is such a different gig and the folks with T2 tend (careful now I mean on average) to be more at risk for heart attack anyway I believe it skews treatment decisions for T1’s.
Cholesterol is a number. Some doctors want to treat numbers for no other reasons than to treat numbers. My philosophy has always been, if there is a family history of heart disease, and a corresponding history of higher cholesterol, then yes, statins lower chlosterol and it may be very important as part of an overall health program.
okay that being said, since I am an older guy, I started taking statins with perfectly normal cholesterol in my 40’s. I also started baby aspirin, both as protection from “average outcomes for diabetes patients” in an attempt to be conservative. I also started taking a “ACE” inhibitor (a blood pressure medication), because it has a strange side effect of kidney protection. IN my late 40’s I needed a little help with blood pressure anyway.
This is a conversation you need to have with your doctor. you could also drop all the known high cholesterol foods such as ice cream, calamari, etc to see if your diet plays a bigger part in the dissolved fats in your blood. good luck. hope you are doing okay.
I have taken Pravastatin for years due to my LDL levels. Keep in mind that your LDL may be perfectly fine for a “normal” person, but they recommend we T1’s keep cholesterol levels at really optimum levels to offset other cardiovascular risk factors. So they want us to be as close to 70 as possible, where a normal person with 100 would be fine.
I have tried other statin meds such as Atorvastatin but I had odd side affects, so I have stayed with good old Pravastatin because I have not experienced any significant side effects. You may need to try a few different types to find the one that is right for you. It’s just a pill each day, you can take it along with your vitamins.