Hear what nationally renowned diabetes specialist Dr. Jodi Strong, from our Medical Advisory Board, has to say about managing cholesterol.
Of course people with diabetes are concerned about their blood sugars... however, many people with diabetes aren’t sure of the connection with high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. In addition, people are confused about the research that’s out on whether or not statins are favorable for patients with diabetes.
As a diabetes specialist, I find myself answering this question regularly with my patients. It is important for a person who has diabetes to understand that their heart disease risk is significantly higher than someone who doesn’t have diabetes. We need to treat the multiple layers of heart disease risk in people with diabetes, including cholesterol levels, which is why statins have become a standard of care. They are one of the most potent and inexpensive ways for us to lower the artery clogging Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that we know is linked to heart disease.
However, many patients either need addition cholesterol lowering help or are unable to tolerate statin therapy. While others have expressed concerns over studies that have shown that statins can raise blood sugars or even “cause diabetes”. Now, as a follower of the scientific evidence and practicing medicine, those of us treating patients with diabetes know how important cholesterol control and the use of statin therapies are to our patients. We continue to help them in making better decisions regarding their lifestyle choices and I many times get asked what other “natural” products can be used to help them lower their cholesterol levels.
I like to share with my patients that we use statins on most all people with diabetes because the benefits of lowering the cholesterol of someone with diabetes significantly outweighs the risk of them having a major cardiac event, but many people still struggle to get and maintain lipid control, not just with their LDL, but also their triglycerides and high density lipoprotein (HDL—the healthy cholesterol). So, in the past, we would recommend products like green tea extract, garlic, and red yeast rice. We used to also use Niacin, however that is no longer recommended in people with diabetes because it can increase blood sugars and the risk/benefit ratio no longer supports its use. Most people like the idea of trying to help improve their cholesterol by using natural products whether they are taking a statin or not, but to take three or four extra supplements separately isn’t ideal, so this is where I encourage patients to try the all in one supplement from the Diabetes Doctor, Dr. Stephanie Redmond, called “CHOLESTEROL 24 HOUR”.
This supplement combines red yeast rice and policosanol, both which help lower cholesterol, and improves LDL/HDL ratio respectively, while green tea extract helps the body eliminate cholesterol from the body. Then, Dr. Redmond and her team took it a step further to include garlic which helps support healthy blood pressure, which is another very important factor in diabetes heart health!
So, whether my patients are on a statin or not, and they need or want help in lowering their cholesterol and improve their cardiac function and outcomes- this is now my go to therapy!
-Dr. Jodi Strong, Diabetologist - Wisconsin
Jodi Strong, DNP, CDE, BC-ADM is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Diabetologist a Ministry Medical Group in Wisconsin. Dr. Strong is a nationally recognized expert and speaker for AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi and has been a consultant for the American Diabetes Association. Her research work has been published in peer reviewed journals including Diabetes Spectrum and The Journal of Family Practice.