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Type 1 Diabetes: Cholesterol Levels

Topic Overview

Cholesterol (or lipid) problems in people who have type 1 diabetes are usually related to the lack of insulin.

  • Lack of insulin increases the level of triglycerides. Normally, insulin makes a certain enzyme that removes triglycerides from the blood. When insulin is used to treat high blood sugar, the triglyceride level goes back to normal.
  • Lack of insulin can lower the level of "good" cholesterol (HDL, or high density lipoprotein). When insulin is given and well controlled, HDL numbers typically go back to normal.

This does not apply to people who have nephropathy, because after the kidney starts losing even small amounts of protein, cholesterol problems begin to develop.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised July 16, 2013

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