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diabetes & cholesterol

Hello, I have had three fairly decent 3-month sugar averages (5.2, 5.1, & 5.4 -- 93.6, 91.8 & 97.2) over the last year and was recently taken-aback by being told that I have high cholesterol.  I am a type 1 diabetic and live what some diabetics may regard as a spartanesque lifestyle for wanting to control my diabetes.  

Since I now have high cholesteral and my doctor has not really provided me with vey many creative suggestions for countering this problem, I am comtemplating changing my eating patterns (possibly only eating fish as an animal product or going vegan), but am curious if many others have experimented with different diets.

I should mention that I already a healthy diet - and can only attribute the cholesterol to beef and chicken, as I do not eat processed food, egg yolks, cheeses and other fatty products.  In fact, the mainstay of my diet is dark vegetables.

I would appreciate any suggestions, so as to embark on yet another personal remedial endeavour related to this affliction.  (It really is a shame that the official national Diabetes Associations throughout the world don't offer dynamic guidance beyond mere blanket recommendations suited to the general population, which supposedly address the concerns of both the diabetic-in-denial and the diabetic that takes things seriously)  Thankyou.
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Avatar universal
I want to add that type 1 and type 2 diabetics are encouraged to keep even lower cholesterol numbers than the rest of the population. It is known that oats are great for lowering cholesterol -- oatmeal for breakfast or oat muffins are wonderful and I personally have noticed a dramatic drop in cholesterol numbers after adding oats to my diet. If oatmeal is not your thing, many cereals are made with oat flour or grains, including Cheerios in a number of flavors. Plain Cheerios have about half the carbs as the sweetened flavors, but if you cut the amount in half, the flavors are just as effective for lowering cholesterol. Also, I have read that recent studies indicate that adding cinnamon to a daily diet seems to lower cholesterol, so I suggest adding a dash of cinnamon to that oatmeal or even to your morning coffee. Can't hurt, and it tastes good.
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Avatar universal
I share your cholesterol issue, though not your good numbers (congratulations on such good A1C readings!). I have been T1 over 40 years, and cholesterol nearly killed me through atherosclerosis. It did kill a friend at 52, another long term T1. My cholesterol is about 50/50 food and self produced. I am also unable to tolerate any of the cholesterol meds that work through the liver (Statins, etc), so I had to find another way to survive.

First, the suggestion above to get a good low cholesterol cook book is a great start. Learning which meats, cheeses and other foods to avoid is key. Vegan is not necessary, nor even a good idea, however. Lowering LDL is the goal, but RAISING HDL is also good, as it helps mitigate the impact of LDL. An excellent way to accomplish this is to eat fish, especially those high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

I eat no red meat, limited chicken and low fat cheese, lots of salmon and other fish, and take Omega-3 fatty acid as a supplement as well. Learning to leave the red and processed meats behind is hard at first, but just like sugar, you eventually lose your taste for it. For me, well prepared salmon or trout beats a rare steak any day.

Fish also digests faster, so there is less of the lag effect caused by slow digestion of red meat, a real problem for those of us impacted by autonomic neuropathy or gastroparesis.

To lower my LDL I had to turn to a medication (Welchol) that works totally within the digestive tract and binds cholesterol so it cannot be absorbed. It causes me no side effects and lowered my HDL from 170 to about 115. This is survivable as long as my BG levels stay in a good range.  

Please do your research and find the method that works with your lifestyle, diet and body. No one method of managing cholesterol works for all.

On the soapbox, I agree that the information we need to manage the many aspects of our disease is not readily available, and that for T1, it is severely diluted by the focus of national and world organizations on T2. The same seems to be true for the medical community.  Our issues and theirs are often quite different. I am very fortunate to have found an Endo who is also T1.

JDRF is one of the few organizations in the world that focuses on T1, and boards like this one seem to be the primary place that we can share experience and ideas. Until we have a medical community focused more on education and preventative care, rather than acute care, I am afraid we wil have to manage with what we can find on our own.

Good luck,
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Avatar universal
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I also exercise every evening and eat flaxseed and take psyillium (sp) fibre every morning for breakfast.  I thought these descriptions might be helpful in formulating ideas.  Thanks again.
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Avatar universal
I am not a physican, but the mom of a type 1 diabetic and the daughter of a type 2.  I have a cholesterol problem.  I can tell you that my daughter doctor does check her constantly for high cholesterol, one when I questioned him about it he told me that food is only a factor 50% of the time.  High cholesterol can be hereditary.

When was told I had high cholesterol, my doctor wanted to but me on pills, i was not good at talking them, so I tried the type of diets you suggest.  First of all going vegan a great diet for a diabetic, you need to have a 'BALANCED ' diet, it was hard to stick to just fish is very tuff.  My doctor suggested doing more exercise, even a 20 minute walk several times a week would help. She also suggested seeing a nutritionist, if I felt I needed help with getting a lower cholesterol diet.  

I would suggest that you get a cook book that has low cholesterol recipes, and see a nutritionist, they will help you eat the way you need to, but still keep your favorite foods working into a lower cholesterol lifestyle.

I hope that this helps, I would also suggest going to www.jdrf.org to  the on line diabetes support team.  They mioght be able help you also.
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