Management of Dyslipidemia in Diabetes

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Diabetes is associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. The management of dyslipidemia, a well-recognized and modifiable risk factor among patients with type 2 diabetes, is an important element in the multifactorial approach to prevent coronary heart disease. Diabetic dyslipidemia typically consists of elevated triglyceride, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and the predominance of small dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) levels in patients with diabetes are similar to those found in the rest of the population. During the past few years, clinical trials have provided evidence that lipid-lowering therapy has a similar beneficial effect on cardiovascular outcomes in diabetic and nondiabetic individuals. According to current guidelines, the primary lipid target is an LDL-C <100 mg/dL (<70 mg/dL in very high-risk patients) and, to this end, statins are the agents of choice. The appropriate management of dyslipidemia in patients with diabetes, particularly in individuals with low LDL-C, remains controversial. To achieve lipid targets, attention should be directed first toward nonpharmacologic therapeutic interventions to control dyslipidemia, such as diet, exercise, smoking cessation, weight loss, and glycemic control. Statin therapy is recommended for most subjects but, frequently, a combination of lipid-lowering agents is required. A number of combinations are possible, and several factors should be considered to improve the safety of this strategy.

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