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Guide to Diabetes

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is small particles of fat found in blood and is used for essential body functions. There are many different types, but some are particularly important:

  • High Density Lipids (HDL) this is good cholesterol

  • Low Density Lipids (LDL) too much of this cholesterol is not good

  • Triglycerides (Bad)

HDL and LDL cholesterol

HDL cholesterol is like cleaning fluid it helps prevent fatty deposits build up and keeps your vessels free from obstruction. The LDL cholesterol is very sticky and tends to build up as fatty deposits inside blood vessels, making it difficult for blood to flow through.
High lelvels of LDL cholesterol can cause problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. It is important to ensure you have your cholesterol levels checked regularly to reduce the risk of complications.

Your cholesterol levels should be less than 5mmo/l and ideally closer to 3.5mmol/l

What can cause of high cholesterol levels?

One of the major causes of the increased levels of cholesterol in the body is diet full of saturated fat. The next apparent cause is the sedentary and motionless lifestyle with no exercises. The food that you eat is stored in the form of fat and hence in the increase of cholesterol. When there is lack of exercise, it is evident that there is excessive weight which in turn results in excessive cholesterol levels.

Have I got High Cholesterol?


A high cholesterol level is usually referred to as hyperlidaemia or hypercholesterolaemia and is a risk factor for Coronory Heart Disease (CHD). The level of cholesterol that is considered high for you will depend partly on whether you have any other risk factors for heart disease, for example high blood pressure (hypertension), a family history of heart disease and whether you are overweight or smoke.

Ways to help reduce your cholesterol levels

People with diabetes with high cholesterol levels will be offered treatment with fat lowering drugs Statins or Fibrates

Many factors can affect your cholesterol level and your risk of heart disease. In some people a high cholesterol level may be due to hereditary factors (your genetic make-up), however your body weight, diet and activity levels can also affect your cholesterol level and risk of heart disease. There a few things that you can do to help your self see below

  • Prepare a proper diet plan that includes all the nutritious foods. The best cholesterol lowering foods are vegetables and fruits that contain high fibre content. The fibre actually absorbs the excessive cholesterol, thereby bringing the levels down to a great extent.

  • Daily exercise is also important for the reduction of LDL cholesterol. Make sure you perform at least thirty minutes of physical activity everyday to ensure the good health of the body. It is not necessary that you visit the gym for the exercises; walking and jogging may do the necessary for restoring your health.
  • If you choose to follow a high protein diet plan for the weight reduction, make sure you cut down on red meat as it contains most cholesterol. Go for lean meat instead. The poultry products must also be of low fat.

  • Keep the junk food out of your diet plan and snack on nuts and fruits instead. They not only reduce the cholesterol levels but provide you with some important nutrients too.


  • Eat oily fish, such as sardines, herring, mackerel, pilchards and salmon at least once a week.


  • A low fat diet can help lower blood cholesterol level and levels of other blood fats. Cutting back on saturated (animal) fat can help to lower cholesterol (particularly the bad LDL cholesterol) and reducing sugar and alcohol intake can help to lower triglyceride levels.


  • Choosing oils and spreads based on vegetable or olive oils instead of butter reduces saturated fat intake. Choosing reduced fat varieties of milk, cheese, yoghurts


  • Limiting your intake of cakes, biscuits, confectionary and pastries.


  • Using low fat cooking methods (such a grilling, boiling, poaching, steaming, oven-baking, stir-frying) will all reduce your overall fat intake, including saturated fat. Reducing your fat intake will help you to lose weight.

Useful Links

Leicester Nutrition and Dietetic NHS Website where you will find dietary guidelines under resources.

Ref: LNDS, Personal Diabetes handbook