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The Christmas holidays are immediately followed by a period of hypercholesterolemia

  • Signe Vedel-Krogh
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark

    The Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark
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  • Camilla J. Kobylecki
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark

    The Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark
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  • Børge G. Nordestgaard
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark

    The Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark

    Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Anne Langsted
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730, Herlev, Denmark.
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark

    The Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark
    Search for articles by this author

      Highlights

      • Celebrating Christmas is associated with higher levels of total and LDL cholesterol.
      • Celebrating Christmas is associated with a higher risk of hypercholesterolemia.
      • A diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia should not be made around Christmas.

      Abstract

      Background and aims

      We aimed to test the hypothesis that levels of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are increased after Christmas and that the risk of hypercholesterolemia is increased after the Christmas holidays.

      Methods

      We conducted an observational study of 25,764 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study, Denmark, aged 20–100 years. Main outcome measures were mean total and LDL cholesterol levels. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as total cholesterol >5 mmol/L (>193 mg/dL) or LDL-cholesterol >3 mmol/L (>116 mg/dL).

      Results

      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% higher total cholesterol levels (p < 0.001). The corresponding value for LDL cholesterol was 20% (p < 0.001). Of the individuals attending the study during the first week of January, immediately after the Christmas holidays, 77% had LDL cholesterol above 3 mmol/L (116 mg/dL) and 89% had total cholesterol above 5 mmol/L (193 mg/dL). In individuals attending the Copenhagen General Population Study in the first week of January, the multivariable adjusted odds ratio of hypercholesterolemia was 6.0 (95% confidence interval 4.2–8.5) compared with individuals attending the study during the rest of the year.

      Conclusions

      Celebrating Christmas is associated with higher levels of total and LDL cholesterol and a higher risk of hypercholesterolemia in individuals in the general population. Thus, a diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia should not be made around Christmas, and our results stress the need for re-testing such patients later and certainly prior to initiation of cholesterol-lowering treatment.

      Graphical abstract

      Keywords

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      Linked Article

      • Reply to: “Seasonal variations of lipid profiles in a French cohort”
        AtherosclerosisVol. 286
        • Preview
          We thank Nadif et al. for their interest in our paper [1] and for providing similar data from a French cohort. We read this letter with great interest.
        • Full-Text
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      • Seasonal variations of lipid profiles in a French cohort
        AtherosclerosisVol. 286
        • Preview
          We read with interest the article by Vedel-Krogh et al. [1] showing that celebrating the Danish “hygge” is associated with higher concentrations of total (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) among 25,764 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study. They concluded to not screen and/or diagnose for a possible hypercholesterolemia around Christmas period. They stress the need for re-testing patients later and certainly prior to initiating a cholesterol-lowering therapy.
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