Cholesterol levels seem to fluctuate with the turning seasons, leading medicos to suggest that some people are at greater cardiovascular risk during the winter months. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session.
While prior studies have shown that heart attacks increase during the winter months, researchers in Brazil were interested in finding out whether the prevalence of high cholesterol might follow a similar pattern.
The study revealed that low density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol increased an average of 7mg/dL during the winter compared to summer. Researchers say this moderate, but significant, increase in LDL cholesterol was enough to result in an 8 percent overall increase in the prevalence of high cholesterol during the winter.
Cholesterol levels during the summer months painted a very different picture, with higher levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol, and triglycerides, which were respectively 9 percent and 5 percent more prevalent.
"People should be aware that their cholesterol and triglyceride levels vary significantly year-round, which in some cases, may lead to a misinterpretation of a person's actual cardiovascular risk," said Filipe Moura, the study's lead investigator. "This should especially concern those who are near the upper cholesterol limit as they may be at higher risk than expected."
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Source: American College of Cardiology