To every lipid profile, turn, turn, turn...
When patients in Campinas, Brazil went in for check-ups during the cold months of winter, their cholesterol levels were about 8 percent higher, on average, than those of patients whose blood was tested during the summer.
- People 'Highly' Enjoy Sex, Condom or No
- Being Cold May Promote Longevity
- Violinists' Fates Resides in Their Left Pinky Fingers
LDL, or "bad" cholesterol levels varied significantly -- by an average of 7 mg/dL -- from winter to summer, according to data taken from a quarter of a million individuals who checked in to primary care centers in Campina between 2008 and 2010. In the summer, levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol, were about 5 mg/dL higher.
That this indication of cardiovascular risk is higher during the winter explains previous findings that mortality from heart disease follows a seasonal trend; the coldest months are commonly believed to be a witching hour for heart attacks.
People who need to closely monitor their cholesterol should be aware that good news received in July might not be an accurate representation of their cardiovascular health, according to Filipe Moura, the study's lead investigator. While 7 mg/dL aren't likely to make a huge difference for most, as there are about 30 points of leeway in the healthy LDL range for people who are not especially at risk for heart disease, getting tested at different times from year to year could make it difficult to track consistency.