If you have high cholesterol, you may also have diabetes.

How does cholesterol affect the metabolism of sugar? Does diabetes affect cholesterol levels?

This article will look at how cholesterol levels and blood sugars impact each other, and how cholesterol levels may affect diabetes management.

According to the American Heart Association, cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood that is crucial for cell building and making vitamins for the body to function.

The food or the bile can be the source of cholesterol. Most animal products contain cholesterol. Too much can be dangerous.

3 components of cholesterol

You get checked for 3 parts of cholesterol.

  • Low-density-lipoprotein (LDL): This is commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. When levels of this type of cholesterol are too high, arteries become narrowed or clogged, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, or heart attacks.
  • High-density-lipoprotein (HDL): This is commonly known as “good” cholesterol. If you have low levels of HDL cholesterol, you could be at risk for heart disease and other health issues, especially if you also have high LDL cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides: These are derived from fats in food. They are stored directly as fat cells. While not technically cholesterol, they are measured along with LDL and HDL to get a fuller picture of your overall health. Measuring triglycerides can also help determine your risk of developing atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty deposits in the artery walls, which puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Humans have a metabolism that converts sugars into Carbohydrates.

“Humans rely on sugars to sustain life and are a key component of the metabolism. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the body can’t either metabolize the blood sugar completely or fully, and in the case of prediabetes, the body can’t either fully metabolize the blood sugar.”

Cholesterol levels and metabolism are related. Diabetes can cause elevated blood sugar levels and this can lead to higher cholesterol.

Diabetic dyslipidemia occurs when someone has diabetes along with elevated triglycerides, low HDL levels, and high LDL levels. Up to 70% of people with type 2 diabetes have diabetic dyslipidemia.

If you have high cholesterol levels, you are at increased risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugars and high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL are both a cause.

People with diabetes and taking sennas for high cholesterol can have difficulty with blood sugar management.

Impaired glucose metabolism raises cholesterol levels.

People with diabetes tend to have smaller and denser LDL particles.

Smaller and denser LDL particles allow cholesterol to get into blood vessel walls more easily, plagiarizing arteries and leading to high cholesterol levels. People with diabetes are at an elevated risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Obesity is linked to cholesterol.

Although type 2 diabetes is not always caused by or associated with obesity, research from 2016 shows that 85% of people with type 2 diabetes have overweight or obesity. These weight levels raise the risk of developing higher cholesterol, and in turn, obesity does increase the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.

People with type 1 diabetes have a higher chance of having higher cholesterol.

There are several ways to lower cholesterol.

Increasing physical activity

Exercising, even just 10 to 30 minutes a day, can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Exercising can also lower blood sugar levels. Studies from 2015 show that increasing HDL cholesterol is statistically significant in helping lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, or about 30 minutes a day, 5 days of the week.

Even if you can’t exercise for the recommended amount of time per day, maintaining a moderate weight may help prevent high cholesterol levels to an extent and ward off prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, shedding just 5% to 10% of your body weight can significantly reduce cholesterol levels.

Changing your eating habits

Suggestions can help you lower cholesterol.

  • Try avoiding foods with lots of saturated fats. These may include cheese, fatty meats, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy products. For example, try lowering the percentage of milk you drink. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your consumption of saturated fats to less than 5% or 6% of your daily calorie intake.
  • Including healthy fats in your meal planning will help you get the most out of your food. You can include fresh fruits, vegetables, and beans in your meal plans.
  • Edamame is a popular soybean with vegetarians. The immature soybean contains isoflavones, which can lower cholesterol levels.
  • Another cholesterol inhibiting nutrient is lycopene, found in tomatoes. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also make diabetes management much easier and will lower blood sugars.

Changing eating habits can lead to weight loss. Reducing or preventing Obesity reduces your risk for Diabetes and high cholesterol.

If you smoke, consider stopping

Smoking cessation lowers cholesterol levels. Smoking is a major risk factor for high cholesterol. It also makes diabetes management much more difficult.

Medications to lower cholesterol

If lifestyle changes are not lowering cholesterol, you may need to take medication.

  • Statins: This class of medications may help lower cholesterol levels and these are the frontline treatment for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: This medication treats high cholesterol in people who cannot take a statin. It lowers total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and it’s used along with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
  • Bile acid sequestrants: These medications prevent bile acid in your stomach from being absorbed into your blood. Your liver then needs the cholesterol from your blood to make more bile acid. This reduces your cholesterol level.
  • Fibric acid: This medication is helpful particularly for high triglycerides.
  • Omega 3-fatty acid: There is strong evidence that this helps lower cholesterol.

If you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about the best course of action.

If you have high blood sugar levels and lifestyle changes are not enough to lower them, talk with your doctor about your options and possibly starting treatment with any of the following diabetes medications.

  • It is a drug that is used to treat diseases.
  • It is possible to have a high level ofinsulin
  • The drug is called SGLT2
  • GLP-1 is a drug.

Cholesterol and glucose metabolism are related. They both play roles in diabetes management, and higher cholesterol levels have a negative effect on the other.

If you have high cholesterol and diabetes, you need to get treatment. As you age, you will be less likely to develop heart disease and other problems.