Tests to check lipids or fat in people with Diabetes
Tests to check blood lipids are very important because they offer very valuable information that can help prevent serious health problems, especially in the brain and heart.
Due to poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle of our current lives, excess weight, obesity, insulin resistance and high blood fat levels, have increased dramatically. This in turn has caused a rapid increase in Type 2 Diabetes, Dyslipidemia and Atherosclerosis, among other serious cardiovascular diseases.
Excess weight coupled with the presence of elevated blood insulin levels (as a result of insulin resistance), and saturated fat intake, make our waist circumference increase. This leads to increased bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides levels, as well as decreased good cholesterol (HDL) levels. In addition fat cells or abdominal adipose tissue (waist) adipocytes deteriorate the endothelial tissue, which is the lining that covers the inner walls of the arteries making them increasingly stiff, sticky and hard. This facilitates atheroma plaque formation (atherosclerosis), which obstruct normal blood flow and can cause strokes and heart attacks, among other cardiovascular problems. That’s why early detection and taking all necessary measures to reverse this problem as soon as possible, has to be a priority for every person with Diabetes, making blood fat tests (lipid profile) increasingly important.
Lipid profile tests
Here we describe the different types of fat on the lipid profile and their normal values. One should follow the necessary steps as soon as possible to check if any of these types of fat are found off normal ranges.
- Very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol: These carry liver and intestine triglycerides to adipose tissue (reserve fat cells) and muscles so that, based on the body’s needs, they can be stored or used as energy. These lipoproteins contain less cholesterol and more triglyceride. Normal VLDL levels lie between 5 and 40 mg/dl. Levels above normal are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Generally, VLDL levels are calculated based on triglycerides level, and represents around 20% of triglycerides. This percentage may vary if the triglycerides level exceeds 400 mg/dl.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): They carry cholesterol from the liver to other organs and tissues of the body, and contain less protein and triglycerides and more cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL are also known as bad cholesterol because they carry cholesterol from the liver to other tissues and organs, including the arterial cells. Normal LDL values lie between 70 and 130 mg/dl (lower values are better). Experts recommend people with high risk of cardiovascular problems or other serious health problems, to have lower LDL cholesterol levels than normal. It is advisable for people with Diabetes, Atherosclerosis or heart problems to have cholesterol levels below 100 mg/dl.
- High density lipoprotein (HDL): These carry cholesterol away from the tissues and organs towards the liver so it can be metabolized and expelled from the body as bile salts, therefore they are called good cholesterol. Normal HDL cholesterol levels are 45mg/dl or more (the higher the better).
- Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood produced by fat absorption from food and are one of the energy sources cells use. Therefore, triglycerides represent a way in which the body stores energy. To decrease blood triglycerides levels one should limit fat, sugar and alcohol intake, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Normal test results for a blood triglyceride test should lie around 160 mg/dl or less. High blood triglyceride levels can lead to cardiovascular problems and liver stenosis or fatty liver, among others.
- Total cholesterol: Total cholesterol is a test that allows you to know all the kinds of cholesterol found in the blood. The ideal level for a total cholesterol test should lie between 180 and 200 mg/dl or less. If your total cholesterol level is within normal levels, you don’t need to get any additional fat blood tests, as this test will tell you how your blood lipids levels are.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in almost every organ in the body. It is involved in hormone and vitamin D production, is necessary for cell membranes and fat absorption substances (salts and bile acids).
High cholesterol levels are directly related to the development of cardiovascular disease, so these should be kept within proper limits; to achieve this, you need to keep a healthy weight, be physically active and reduce the consumption of foods high in fat and cholesterol (pork, chicken skin, organ meats, fried foods, eggs, whole milk and butter, among others).
High LDL cholesterol levels facilitate the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (atherosclerosis), which affect normal blood flow in the arteries, leading to potentially serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease. If you have high cholesterol, you need to look out for certain symptoms or warning signs that may indicate the presence of serious health problems. Staying well informed about the ideal blood lipid values and the consequences that arise when these aren’t within normal levels, is very important for you, to prevent serious health problems that could harm your quality of life and physical integrity.
In Diabetes Up to Date, we are committed to keep you well informed about any problems that may decrease your quality of life, so you will enjoy a healthier, more productive and happier life.