High cholesterol is common in diabetes patients. It is also another example of the link between diabetes and heart disease. The reason is that high cholesterol is often one of the most significant factors contributing to heart disease. There are two types of cholesterol found in the blood: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The former is the unhealthy type of cholesterol. In fact, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is healthy to have in certain amounts. As low-density lipoprotein cholesterol builds, it can cause the arteries to become narrowed and potentially blocked. That increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Over time, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can contribute to the overall deterioration of an individual's cardiovascular system.
Individuals may also have problems with high triglycerides. Like cholesterol, these substances can narrow or block arteries when their levels are too high. Diabetes can cause an individual's low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to increase while their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreases. The American Heart Association warns about a condition called diabetic dyslipidemia, which affects the heart. This condition makes patients more susceptible to high cholesterol and increased triglycerides. Managing blood sugar is key to preventing damage from this condition.