Diabetes is characterized by profound lipid abnormalities. The objective of this study was to examine changes in concentrations of lipids and apolipoprotein B among participants stratified by glycemic status (diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and normoglycemia) in the United States from 1988–1991 to 2005–2008.
We used data from 3202 participants aged ≥20 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (1988–1991) and 3949 participants aged ≥20 years from NHANES 2005–2008.
Among participants of all four groups, unadjusted and adjusted mean concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B, but not triglycerides, decreased significantly. Among participants with prediabetes and normoglycemia, unadjusted and adjusted mean concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased significantly. Adjusted mean log-transformed concentrations of triglycerides decreased in adults with undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes. During 2005–2008, unadjusted concentrations of apolipoprotein B ≥80 mg/dl were observed in 72.8% of participants with diagnosed diabetes, 87.9% of participants with undiagnosed diabetes, 86.6% of participants with prediabetes, and 77.2% of participants with normoglycemia. The unadjusted use of cholesterol-lowering medications rose rapidly, especially among participants with diabetes (from ~1% to ~49%, P <0.001). The use of fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and niacin rose significantly only among adults with diagnosed diabetes (from ~2% to ~8%, P = 0.011).
Lipid profiles of adults with diabetes improved during the approximately 16-year study period. Nevertheless, large percentages of adults continue to have elevated concentrations of apolipoprotein B.