Type 2 diabetes and diabetic dyslipidemia are high-risk conditions for cardiovascular disease. However, the description of the distribution of blood lipids in diabetic patients has not been based on population-based surveys. The aim of this study was to describe diabetic dyslipidemia in a large unselected sample of patients from the Swedish National Diabetes Register.
Blood lipid profiles and clinical characteristics in 75,048 type 2 diabetic patients (57% men) were studied.
Pronounced hypertriglyceridemia (triglycerides >4.0mmol/l) was seen in 3.4% of the patients. Total cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and non-HDL-C were generally higher, and LDL-C/HDL-C and Non-HDL-C/HDL-C ratios were lower in women. Mean TC, LDL-C as well as HDL-C values were lower in patients treated with lipid-lowering agents, whereas triglycerides was higher than in the untreated patients. In patients not treated with lipid-lowering agents all blood lipids increased in women and decreased in men (except HDL-C) at higher ages. Patients with LDL-C/HDL-C ratio = 3 were slightly younger, less frequently used lipid-lowering drugs and had not so often a history of coronary heart disease or stroke.
The distribution of blood lipids in this large sample of unselected type 2 diabetic patients challenges the previous conception of diabetic dyslipidemia, and calls for new studies to explain the roles of LDL-C and HDL-C as strong cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes.