To investigate subjects with different types of diabetes mellitus regarding their serum levels of lipoprotein(a). High serum Lp(a) concentration is associated with a high risk of coronary heart disease. Diabetic patients are prone to developing coronary heart disease.
The subjects were 66 type I diabetic patients, 100 type II diabetic patients treated with diet alone or diet combined with oral hypoglycemic agents, and 46 insulin-requiring type II diabetic patients. Subjects were compared with 142 nondiabetic outpatients.
Subjects with insulin-requiring type II diabetes mellitus were found to have an increase both in serum Lp(a) concentration and in prevalence of serum Lp(a) concentration >30 mg/dl compared with the other groups of diabetic patients and nondiabetic control subjects. A nonsignificant increase in the prevalence of coronary heart disease was also found in insulin-requiring type II diabetic patients. The levels of serum concentrations of Lp(a) were not significantly related to the degree of glycemic control, duration of diabetes, presence of macrovascular disease, or intake of female hormone therapy. High levels of Lp(a) in this group of diabetic patients could not be explained by the presence of albuminuria.
Insulin-requiring type II diabetic patients have high levels of Lp(a). Chronic hyperinsulinemia might be an eventual causal factor.