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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.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Can You Drink Alcohol if You Have Diabetes?

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics, including questions about what's true and not true in the field of medicine. For our July/August 2012 issue, we interviewed a researcher from the Joslin Diabetes Center about alcohol and diabetes. Q: My husband has diabetes and says it's OK to drink alcohol. Is that true? A: While it's fine for some people with diabetes to drink some alcohol, your husband's blanket statement is...

Read the Can You Drink Alcohol if You Have Diabetes? article > >

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 26, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Type 1 Diabetes: Cholesterol Levels Topics

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Normal
70-130
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If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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