Because diabetes is such a significant risk factor for the premature development of vascular disease (such as strokes, heart attacks or poor circulation to the legs), it's essential to reduce any and all modifiable risk factors for vascular disease (atherosclerosis; "hardening of the arteries") that may be present. One key risk factor is elevated LDL cholesterol. Fortunately we now have remarkably effective ways of reducing LDL cholesterol.

Although healthy eating and regular exercise are helpful, for most people with high LDL cholesterol these lifestyle measures will not be sufficient.  Not that they are unimportant - because they are important - just that they often need to be complemented by the additional help of medications.

The most commonly used medications to lower LDL cholesterol are statin drugs. Of these, particularly potent are rosuvastatin (Crestor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor), though others (such as simvastatin) are also effective.

When statin medication isn't sufficient to get your LDL into target then adding a drug called ezetimibe (Ezetrol) is often helpful. For individuals for whom statin therapy (and/or ezetimibe) isn't doing the job or isn't being tolerated, another (very expensive!) option is to be treated with a PCSK9 inhibitor.

Other drugs to treat abnormal lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) are fibrates, niacin, and, not often used nowadays, "binding resins" such as cholestyramine.