Managing Diabetes Magazine - diabetes
High Blood Lipids
Simple tips to improve your health
Lipids are specific fats that are found in your blood. It is not uncommon for people with diabetes to have blood lipids that are high. Two of the well-known ones are cholesterol and triglycerides.
Changes in the way the body uses insulin can affect your body’s ability to produce and use cholesterol and triglycerides. For someone with diabetes, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) can be very troublesome. Even small increases in LDL can greatly increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease. If your doctor tells you that your LDL cholesterol is high, there are several steps that you can take to improve your LDL and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- If your blood sugars have been running high, work with your diabetes team to plan ways to bring them down. It may be changes in combinations of medication, activity or food that will have the right effect on your blood sugars and get them into a healthier range. You will likely see a positive effect on your blood lipids within three to six months. Even if they are not completely normal by that time, it will help your doctor to decide the next course of action. And, if you need medication to help treat the high lipids, it will be more effective when blood sugars are in a healthy range.
- Do what you can to increase your level of activity. Health Canada recommends about 60 minutes of accumulated activity each day. This means that if you do six activities of 10 minutes each throughout the day you would reach that goal. Research has shown a clear connection between regular activity and your body’s ability to regulate blood sugars, blood lipids and blood pressure. Make sure you ask your doctor about your plans, and you may find it helpful to seek guidance from a qualified exercise specialist.
- Try to decrease the amount of fat in your diet. Too much fat leads to many health concerns, such as excess weight, diabetes and high blood lipids. There is no need to go around with a calculator all day keeping tabs on how much fat you are eating. Try to make practical changes that are going to have maximum impact. For example, if you eat a lot of cheese because it is a nutritious, convenient and flexible food, try switching to a brand that has a lower fat content. Using a cheese that has been reduced in fat by 40 per cent from its regular version could cut up to a teaspoon of fat for every ounce of cheese you use. It has been estimated that eating just one unnecessary teaspoon of fat daily adds up to five pounds of weight by the end of one year. It does not take much, does it?
- Reach for more fruits and vegetables. You have probably heard this more times than you care to remember but it is good advice. Research has proven the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. There are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that can decrease the damage that cholesterol can do. Several of these chemicals often work together to provide their protective effects. This is one reason why dietitians strongly encourage eating whole fruits and vegetables, instead of trying to get nutrients from supplements. Plant foods are also excellent sources of fibre, which can help your body get rid of cholesterol more effectively. Also, if you have high blood pressure, the potassium in fruits and vegetables can be a bonus in helping your body regulate it. You just cannot lose with these foods!
- Reach for more whole grains. Whole grain breads and cereals are winners when it comes to lowering cholesterol. Remember the days of steaming bowls of hot cereal in the morning? It really was the right way to start your day. Bread is low in fat. It is what you put on your bread that makes it fattening. The fibre in these foods may be a great help in getting your cholesterol in line.
- Do not give up red meats. With red meat, you see what you get. Choose lean meats that have little marbling and keep the portion sizes reasonable. Imagine your plate divided into quarters - devote one of those quarters to lean meat, and fill the rest with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
If you need more information, contact your local diabetes education centre and make an appointment to get the information that is so vital to your good health. Also, call your local Safeway store to inquire about grocery store tours, led by registered dietitians. This is an excellent way to learn while you shop and discover all the wonderful foods out there that you can use to your health’s desire.
Know The Difference
|HIGH BLOOD SUGAR
||LOW BLOOD SUGAR
|Symptoms noticed within hours to several days |