About 15% of the adult Kuwaiti population has type 2 diabetes and over 50% are hyperlipidaemic by current diagnostic criteria. Not surprisingly, coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in Kuwait. Reports from coronary care units in Kuwait suggest that 40–80% of the CHD patients were diabetic and 50–80% hyperlipidaemic. The pattern worldwide is similar. International guidelines have therefore consistently recognised diabetes as a major risk factor for CHD. In our Lipid Clinic population in Kuwait, about 30% are diabetic. The commonest lipid abnormalities seen in Kuwaiti diabetic patients, as elsewhere, are hypertriglyceridaemia with low HDL levels and variable LDL levels. About 75% of the subjects had either mixed hyperlipidaemia or predominant hypertriglyceridaemia. There are possibly some compositional changes in LDL in the diabetic subjects in that there were important differences in the statistical relationships between LDL and HDL and their respective apolipoproteins – apo B and apo A-1 in diabetic as compared to non-diabetic subjects. Other important observations made in diabetic subjects in Kuwait are: (i) similar serum Lp (a) levels and pattern of apo(a) polymorphism with non-diabetic subjects, with no demonstrable relationship between serum levels of Lp(a) and insulin/insulin sensitivity, although with CHD, Lp(a) levels were increased; (ii) diabetic hyperlipidaemic subjects had elevated PAI-1 levels with significant correlations between blood PAI-1 and insulin levels suggesting underlying insulin resistance (syndrome X). Various landmark trials of cholesterol-lowering therapies in the prevention of CHD have consistently demonstrated near-normalization of the increased CHD risk in diabetes. Our experience in Kuwait suggests that diabetic patients and others with mixed hyperlipidaemia benefit from tight glycaemic control, appropriate advice on diet and exercise with regular reinforcement by continuing contact with professional dietitians and regular availability of drugs where prescribed. Often, it is the regular compliance with medication that is important, rather than the specific medication used particularly where HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statin drugs) are not always available. A useful guideline for management of dyslipidaemia in diabetes is suggested.

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