Diabetes and Heart Health

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Do you have type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides?

If you have type 2 diabetes and elevated triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), you may be at increased risk for developing serious heart problems.

Clinical research is investigating a potential new medication that may help reduce the risk of heart problems in people with type 2 diabetes by lowering triglycerides and raising the amount of “good” cholesterol (also called HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) in the body. Read on to learn more.

If you are living with type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides, we would like to hear from you.

  • Take our brief online survey to be considered for an upcoming clinical trial.*
  • We also invite you to join our Diabetes Team and Heart Health online patient communities to connect with others facing similar challenges.

*If you are eligible and choose to participate, you will receive all study-related care and study medication at no cost during your participation. Compensation for study-related travel costs may also be provided.

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About Triglycerides

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. If you take in more calories from food than your body needs, the body converts those calories into triglycerides. Triglycerides are stored in fat cells. High levels of triglycerides can increase your chances of having heart disease, especially in women.

Having high triglycerides usually has no signs or symptoms until a serious problem occurs. It is related to a group of conditions known as Metabolic Syndrome, which includes obesity, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. These conditions can increase your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, heart disease and other problems.

Why are high triglycerides a concern for people with type 2 diabetes?

Even when blood sugar is under control, people with type 2 diabetes may have raised triglycerides in the blood, as well as lowered HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and sometimes raised LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Combined, these can increase the likelihood of developing heart problems. It is important to take steps to manage your levels of triglycerides and cholesterol as well as your blood sugar.

There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to manage your level of triglycerides, such as diet and exercise. See “Treatment” for more on this.


Causes & Risk Factors

What causes high triglycerides?

In general, having high triglycerides can be caused by:

  • Obesity
  • A high calorie diet
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism - an underactive thyroid
  • Familial hypertriglyceridemia - a genetic disorder
  • Certain medications - including diuretics, estrogen and progestin, retinoids, steroids, beta blockers, some immunosuppressants or some HIV medications

People who have diabetes have a higher risk of developing heart disease than people who don’t have diabetes. Of those with diabetes, women and certain ethnic groups, such as South Asian, African Caribbean, Black African, Chinese or Middle Eastern, are at greater risk.


Diagnosis & Treatment

Triglyceride levels are measured with a blood test. This is usually done as part of a cholesterol test. You may need to fast (not eat or drink anything except water) for 12 hours beforehand for accurate results. For people with type 2 diabetes, blood levels may be monitored regularly to make sure they are under control.

Triglycerides

Lifestyle changes may include:*

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet that is low in fats, sugars and simple carbohydrates (for example, potatoes, pasta and bread) with plenty of fish with omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains and fiber
  • Getting regular exercise (note: The British Heart Foundation advises people with existing heart conditions to avoid strenuous activity such as lifting weights, press ups or exercise which could result in chest pains or getting up from the floor quickly. Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.)
  • Limiting alcohol - which is high in calories and sugar and can increase triglycerides.
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • Stopping smoking

Medications used to manage cholesterol and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes, in addition to lifestyle changes, may include:*

  • Statins to lower “bad” cholesterol, also called LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • Fibrates (fibric acid derivatives) to lower triglycerides and increase “good” cholesterol, also called HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, also known as fish oils, which are believed to help decrease triglycerides
  • Niacin (nicotinic acid) to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol

Although many people with type 2 diabetes take medications to lower their cholesterol, they remain at risk for developing serious heart problems. Clinical trials are helping medical researchers better understand and treat type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides with the hope of lowering their risk of heart attack and other heart problems. Learn more.

*Sources: Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and British Heart Foundation


Clinical Trials -Learn More

A clinical trial is investigating a potential new medication for people with type 2 diabetes and elevated triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood). The trial is evaluating whether the medication is safe and can prevent a heart attack or other heart-related problems by lowering triglycerides and raising the amount of “good” cholesterol (also called HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) in the body.

The clinical trial is seeking individuals with type 2 diabetes and moderately high triglycerides to consider taking part. The clinical trial will involve approximately 10,000 participants from around the world and will last for about 5 years. Study participants will continue taking their current statin medications (medications to lower “bad” cholesterol, also called LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) during the study.

If you are eligible and choose to participate, you will receive all study-related care and study medication at no cost during your participation.

Have you considered taking part in a clinical trial for people with type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides?

Potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial include:

  • Close care and monitoring by a study doctor and staff throughout the study
  • No cost for study treatment, related tests and procedures
  • Contribute to our understanding of the treatment options for type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides

If you would like to be considered for an upcoming clinical trial in type 2 diabetes and elevated triglycerides, take our survey.

Please take some time to answer a few questions and be considered for an upcoming clinical trial for people with type 2 diabetes and elevated triglycerides. We also invite you to join our Diabetes Team and Heart Health patient communities to connect with others with similar concerns.

Take Survey

Thank you for sharing with us.

If you would like to be notified about an upcoming clinical trial, you may sign up at the end of our survey.