Diabetic dyslipidemia is characterized by elevated fasting and postprandial triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, elevated LDL-cholesterol and the predominance of small dense LDL particles. These lipid changes represent the major link between diabetes and the increased cardiovascular risk of diabetic patients. The underlying pathophysiology is only partially understood. Alterations of insulin sensitive pathways, increased concentrations of free fatty acids and low grade inflammation all play a role and result in an overproduction and decreased catabolism of triglyceride rich lipoproteins of intestinal and hepatic origin. The observed changes in HDL and LDL are mostly sequence to this. Lifestyle modification and glucose control may improve the lipid profile but statin therapy mediates the biggest benefit with respect to cardiovascular risk reduction. Therefore most diabetic patients should receive statin therapy. The role of other lipid lowering drugs, such as ezetimibe, fibrates, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and bile acid sequestrants is less well defined as they are characterized by largely negative outcome trials. This review examines the pathophysiology of diabetic dyslipidemia and its relationship to cardiovascular diseases. Management approaches will also be discussed.
Keywords: Hyperlipoproteinemia; Hypertriglyceridemia; Mixed dyslipidemia; Postprandial.
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