Temporal decline in non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in subjects with diabetes mellitus without atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

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Background: Non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) includes atherogenic cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Patients with diabetes frequently have elevations in non-HDL-C. Objective: This study examines temporal trends in the levels of non-HDL-C in free-living subjects with diabetes but a negative history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Methods: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted between 1999 and 2016 had data from 3,219 adults (aged 40–75 years) with diabetes. Temporal trends in changes in the distribution of total cholesterol, non-HDL-C, LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), and HDL-C were evaluated. Data were weighted to account for complex survey design. Results: Significant decreases were observed in non-HDL-C (20.1%; P < .0001) and total cholesterol (16.1%; P < .0001) levels between 1999 and 2016. No significant changes were noted in HDL-C levels. LDL-C was reduced by 29.6% in a subset of subjects. The reduction in non-HDL-C and LDL-C occurred simultaneously, with an increase of 4.4% of subjects per year taking cholesterol-lowering drugs and statins. In contrast, the fraction of subjects taking antihypertensives or hypoglycemia agents rose at a rate of 2.2% per year. There was also a significant trend for increases in weight gain (P ≤ .013). Conclusions: In subjects with diabetes, non-HDL-C levels have declined over time in parallel with reported increases in cholesterol-lowering drugs. Nonetheless, treatment targets for lipids in subjects with diabetes lag behind current recommendations. Reported intakes for antihypertensive agents and hypoglycemia agents were relatively high throughout the period of study, with little change over time. However, there was a trend for weight increase in diabetic subjects, which may offset some of the benefits of pharmacotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • ASCVD risk
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Free-living population
  • Non-HDL cholesterol
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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