The authors of a new study have cautioned clinicians against making a diagnosis of hypercholesterolaemia around Christmas, after they identified higher levels of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol immediately after the festive period.
The observational study included 25,764 individuals aged 20-100 years from the Copenhagen General Population Study, Denmark.
The data showed that mean levels of total and LDL cholesterol increased in individuals examined in summer through December and January. Compared with individuals examined in May-June, those examined in December-January had 15 per cent higher total cholesterol levels (P<.001 and per cent higher cholesterol levels>
Of the individuals attending the study during the first week of January, immediately after the Christmas holidays, 77 per cent had LDL cholesterol above 3 mmol/L (116 mg/dL) and 89 per cent had total cholesterol above 5 mmol/L (193 mg/dL). The multivariable adjusted odds ratio of hypercholesterolemia was 6.0 (95% CI 4.2-8.5) in individuals examined in the first week of January compared with individuals attending during the rest of the year.
The authors say the results stress the need for re-testing patients with post-Christmas hypercholesterolaemia prior to initiating cholesterol-lowering treatment.
The findings are published in the journal Atherosclerosis.