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J R Soc Med. 1992 January; 85(1): 8–11.
PMCID: PMC1293452

Importance of routine measurement of HDL with total cholesterol in diabetic patients.


The prevalence of hypercholesterolaemia and the frequency of a reduced HDL-cholesterol (at different cholesterol concentrations) were evaluated in a group of 400 diabetic patients attending a single diabetic clinic. Despite regularly supervised diabetes, including dietary advice, over one quarter of the patients had a serum total cholesterol concentration greater than 6.5 mmol/l, while over a quarter of the non-insulin treated and one eighth of the insulin treated diabetic subjects had an HDL-cholesterol less than 0.9 mmol/l, with a greater prevalence in the males compared with the females. More than 60% of all the diabetic patients who had a reduced HDL-cholesterol less than 0.9 mmol/l also had a total cholesterol concentration less than 6.5 mmol/l. When the total/HDL-cholesterol ratio was calculated more non-insulin treated subjects had a value greater than 4.5 as compared with insulin treated diabetic patients. When comparisons were made between an age matched group of diabetic patients (n = 185) and a group of non-diabetic subjects attending for a health screen (n = 155), the frequencies of serum cholesterol concentrations greater than 5.2, 6.5, and 7.8 mmol/l were similar for both groups. Significantly greater numbers of diabetic patients had a reduced HDL-cholesterol less than 0.9 mmol/l (at any level of serum cholesterol) and a total/HDL cholesterol ratio greater than 4.5. This study has shown that the measurement of serum total cholesterol concentration alone will not characterize many subjects who are at risk of macrovascular complications due to a reduced HDL-cholesterol.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Selected References

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