Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disorder that is often associated with cardiovascular events and underlying lipid abnormalities. Cardiovascular complications are common causes of DM deaths in Nigeria yet dyslipidaemia is one aspect of DM that is underdiagnosed and undertreated in our patients. This report seeks to determine the prevalence and pattern of lipid abnormalities in Nigerians with types I and 2 DM.
A total of 600 patients with DM aged between 22 – 79 years were evaluated for lipid abnormalities. The anthropometric indices, glycosylated haemoglobin, pattern of DM treatment and co-morbidities were noted. Total cholesterol (TCHOL), triglyceride (TG), high density lipoproteins (HDL-C), low density lipoproteins cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and the atherogenic indices levels were documented. Test statistic used included student's t test and χ2.
Well over half (89%) of the study subjects had lipid abnormalities and there was no statistically significant difference in the proportions of subjects with type 1 and 2 DM with lipid abnormalities. Elevated LDL-C, TCHOL, TG and reduced HDL-C were noted in 74%, 42%, 13%, and 53% respectively of the study subjects. The commonly noted combined lipid abnormalities were elevated TG and reduced HDL-C. Hypertension, significant histories of smoking and alcohol ingestion were found to be potential determinants of the occurrence of dyslipidaemia. Age, sex, type of DM and anthropometric indices were found to be determinants of the the pattern of dyslipidaemia. Only a small proportion – (8%)-of the subjects with dyslipidaemia were on treatment for it.
Having defined the scope of dyslipidaemia in our patients and also highlighting its gross undertreatment, we hope that our data will help sensitize health care practitioners on screening for and treating dyslipidaemia. Elevated LDL-C and reduced HDL-C should be the primary targets of treatment in our patients with dyslipidaemia.