May 27, 2022
Cholesterol and type-2 diabetes are the two most common lifestyle diseases that affect people today. Diabetes is a condition in which a person has high blood sugar levels. It refers to an impairment in the way the person’s body regulates or uses glucose, which leads to excessive levels of glucose circulating in the bloodstream. On the other hand, cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the blood and is used to build healthy cells. High cholesterol levels refer to increased amounts of LDL and/or triglycerides and put a person at higher risk of developing several heart-related problems. High cholesterol can also lead to the narrowing of the arteries and even complete blockage.
Before getting into how high cholesterol and diabetes are related, it is important to understand what these conditions entail:
A waxy, fat-like substance in the body, cholesterol helps make hormones and vitamin D and helps the digestion process. Apart from being produced in the body itself, cholesterol is also found in several food sources. There are 3 types of cholesterol found in a person’s body:
High levels of LDL and triglycerides, combined with low levels of HDL are referred to as high cholesterol and can be caused by:
Other factors that can increase the risk of developing high cholesterol include:
Consistently high cholesterol levels can lead to severe issues like a heart attack or stroke. That is why many people may even be prescribed a commercial blood cholesterol-lowering agent to manage the condition.
Diabetes, also called blood sugar, is a chronic condition where the glucose levels in the blood are much higher than they should be. This generally happens when a person’s body cannot produce enough insulin, or their cells become resistant to it. There are three types of diabetes – type-1 (caused by an autoimmune reaction), type-2 (a lifestyle disease that develops over years), and gestational diabetes (develops in pregnant women).
Type 2 diabetes has several risk factors, including:
Similar to high cholesterol, high blood sugar also puts a person at a higher risk of cardiovascular issues. A high sugar level or diabetes can also lead to:
While sugar and cholesterol levels are closely linked, there is a difference between diabetes and high cholesterol, which can be seen in the symptoms the conditions develop. High cholesterol may go undetected for a long time unless a lipid profile test is performed for screening. However:
On the other hand, as compared to cholesterol, high blood sugar has several symptoms one can look out for, which may vary with the type of diabetes one has:
Type-2 diabetes may take several years to show any symptoms, so adding a simple blood sugar test to the regular health check-up may prove to be a useful idea.
Type-2 diabetes increases the risk of developing other health problems, like cholesterol-related issues. When blood sugar levels increase, the lining of the arteries starts thinning, which makes it easier for cholesterol to stick to them, which would, in turn, lead to the narrowing, and even complete blocking, of the arteries.
Blood sugar and cholesterol levels go hand in hand and people with diabetes are most likely to have high cholesterol levels as well. Together, cholesterol and diabetes make one more likely to develop serious health issues.
Diabetes is signified by insulin resistance, which is the primary regulator of the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. Insulin also prevents the breakdown of fat into fatty acids. Insulin resistance can have several consequences, including an increased rate of fat breakdown, which leads to lower HDL levels and raised levels of triglycerides and LDL. The condition is known as diabetic dyslipidaemia and may require one to take a commercial blood cholesterol lowering agent to manage.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular problems, like heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes. While diabetes can lead to vision problems, dementia, and other serious issues.
For people with diabetes, it is all the more important to keep their cholesterol levels in check to ensure good health. For people who are diabetic, what is considered to be the normal range for cholesterol levels is generally lower than what it is for people without diabetes.
If any symptoms of high blood sugar develop, one should consult a doctor, who will be able to prescribe screening tests to diagnose the issue.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with ample exercise and a proper diet is crucial for diabetes and cholesterol management.
Type-2 diabetes and high cholesterol are closely-linked lifestyle diseases. If not taken care of on time, they can lead to several complications. That is why it is critical to managing them responsibly for a better quality of life.
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