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Am J Cardiol. 2012 Sep 1;110(5):662-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.04.046. Epub 2012 May 22.

Evaluation of low-density lipoprotein particle number distribution in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <50 mg/dl and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol <80 mg/dl.

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  • 1Cardiology of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Many patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have relatively normal levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol yet have increased risk for cardiovascular events. Distribution of lipoprotein subclasses in patients with T2DM who have achieved very low levels of LDL cholesterol (<50 mg/dl) or non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (<80 mg/dl) have not been extensively examined. The aim of this study was to assess variations in lipoprotein particle concentration in patients with diabetes with "very low" LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol levels to elucidate the drivers of residual cardiovascular risk. Data were selected from a single large clinical laboratory database. Cases were patients with T2DM diagnosis codes (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes 250 to 250.93). Lipoprotein particle concentrations were analyzed using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The Friedewald equation was used to calculate LDL cholesterol. Among the 1,970 patients with T2DM, the mean age was 61 years, and approximately 51% were men. At LDL cholesterol concentrations <50 mg/dl (triglyceride <150 mg/dl and HDL cholesterol >40 mg/dl), 16% had LDL particle concentrations <500 nmol/L, 70% had concentrations of 500 to 1,000 nmol/L, and 14% had concentrations >1,001 nmol/L. At non-HDL cholesterol levels <80 mg/dl, 8% had LDL particle concentrations <500 nmol/L, 67% had concentrations of 500 to 1,000 nmol/L, and 25% had concentrations >1,001 nmol/L. In conclusion, despite attainment of LDL cholesterol <50 mg/dl or non-HDL cholesterol <80 mg/dl, patients with diabetes exhibited significant variation in LDL particle levels, with most having LDL particle concentrations >500 nmol/L, suggesting the persistence of potential residual coronary heart disease risk.

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