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High Triglycerides and Diabetes

I’m a 55-year-old male with diabetes. My blood sugars are okay but my triglycerides are high (340 mg/d.L). Is this a bad thing, and if so, what can I do about it?

Elevated triglyceride levels usually occur in association with diabetes. Unfortunately, it does increase your risk for a stroke and/or heart attack even further. It is good that you have your diabetes under control, but it is also very important that you lower your triglyceride levels to less than 150 mg/dl, which is the current recommended level, based on international guidelines. Effecting this beneficial lowering of your triglyceride levels will involve, primarily, a change in your lifestyle.

What kind of lifestyle changes must you undertake? First, stick to your prescribed diabetic diet. Avoiding fatty and oily foods and staying within the prescribed number of calories per day will make it easier to control your weight, as well as, blood sugar and triglyceride IeveIs.Then, make sure that you exercise regularly and on a daily basis. Exercise will help to burn the calories and mobilize your fat stores. Finally, stop smoking.

If these lifestyle interventions don’t do the trick, work closely with your physician to make sure that all your risk factors are adequately addressed. A complete metabolic evaluation will probably be done to ensure that no other medical conditions have been overlooked and left untreated. If deemed necessary by your physician, medications to control triglycerides may be started. Most medications for cholesterol and triglycericle control will need to be taken for a long period of time, so that you can reap the maximum benefits which can be derived from these drugs, one of which is to decrease your chances of developing diabetes complications, such as heart attacks, stroke, or death. Remember, however, that lifestyle changes should be maintained, in conjunction with drug treatment, and should be continued indefinitely.

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