‘Bad’ cholesterol spikes after holiday indulgence

In a new study by Danish researchers, nine out of ten people had very high levels of low-density-lipoprotein—the “bad” cholesterol known as LDL—in their bloodstream during the first week of January. The results seem to represent a temporary spike following the holiday season, during which many likely indulged in unhealthy foods and neglected exercise.

Study participants (more than 25,000 Danish adults, ages 20 to 100) had the lowest amounts of LDL cholesterol in their bloodstream during tests taken in May or June, a finding that led the study authors to caution against starting cholesterol-lowering drug treatment based on tests administered in January.

“I wouldn’t want to trivialize these differences, but you can’t get too excited about [high levels of LDL cholesterol] if it happens over a few weeks of the year,” Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was not involved in the research, said in a January 18, 2019 Wall Street Journal article.

Read the Wall Street Journal article: High Cholesterol? It Must Be January