Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most prevalent complication and primarily accounts for the excess morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients, but microvascular complications, such as kidney disease and retinopathy, are frequent and contribute to the total disease burden.
Lipid abnormalities in patients with type 2 diabetes are a major problem and associated with the increased risk of CVD. The most common pattern of dyslipidemia in these patients consists of elevated levels of triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein levels in these patients are often similar to that of the nondiabetic population, although there may be important qualitative differences in the pattern that contribute to the increased risk of CVD.
Abnormal levels of urinary albumin occur in 30–40% of patients with type 2 diabetes and the presence of kidney disease enhances the mortality from CVD. Microalbuminuria, an early marker of diabetic nephropathy, is an independent risk factor for CVD. The increased levels of urinary albumin secretion may represent a more generalized vascular damage than renal microvascular injury alone.
This Review focuses on the significance of diabetic dyslipidemia and microalbuminuria to CVD risk as well as to kidney complications. We also discuss the role of aggressive therapy to ameliorate vascular injury in the diabetic patient and reduce or prevent the cardiovascular and renal consequences of the disease.
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