Elevated triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level as marker of very high risk in type 2 diabetes

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Purpose of reviewThe aim of this review is to describe in diabetic patients the determinants underlying atherogenic dyslipidemia, a complex dyslipidemia defined as the coexistence of fasting hypertriglyceridemia and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level. Atherogenic dyslipidemia is often comorbid with hyperglycemia in patients with the common form of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), namely that associated with obesity, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and the metabolic syndrome phenotype.Recent findingsThe role of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, both fasting and nonfasting, is increasingly considered as a direct driver of atherosclerosis in diabetic patients, even in those receiving best standards of care, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level adequately controlled by statins and/or ezetimibe. The residual cardiovascular risk related to atherogenic dyslipidemia in T2DM patients can be inferred from subgroup analysis of diabetic patients within landmark lipid-lowering trials, or from T2DM-only trials, such as Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes study or Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes-Lipid trial.SummaryThe presence of atherogenic dyslipidemia markedly increases cardiovascular risk, and there is evidence that part of the residual cardiovascular risk in T2DM can be safely and effectively reduced by fibrates. Ongoing trials will determine whether new classes of drugs or dietary intervention targeting hypertriglyceridemia (such as n-3 fatty acids or SPPARMα) will reduce macro and microvascular residual risk in T2DM patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia at inclusion.

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