Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Holiday Season and Risk of Hypercholesterolemia

Atherosclerosis; ePub 2018 Dec 19; Vedel-Krogh, et al

Celebrating Christmas and the holiday season is associated with higher levels of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and a higher risk of hypercholesterolemia in individuals in the general population. This according to an observational study of 25,764 individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study aged 20‒100 years. The main outcome measures were mean total and LDL-C levels. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as total cholesterol >5 mmol/L (>193 mg/dL) or LDL-C >3 mmol/L (>116 mg/dL). Researchers found:

  • Mean levels of total and LDL-C cholesterol increased in individuals examined in summer through December and January.
  • Compared to individuals examined in May-June, those examined in December-January had 15% higher total cholesterol levels; the corresponding value of LDL-C was 20%.
  • 77% of those attending the study during the first week of January had LDL-C >3mmol/L (116 mg/dL) and 89% had total cholesterol >5 mmol/L (193 mg/dL).
  • The multivariable adjusted odds ratio of hypercholesterolemia was 6.0 compared with individuals attending the study during the rest of the year.


Vedel-Krogh S, Kobylecki CJ, Nordestgaard BG, Langsted A. The Christmas holidays are immediately followed by a period of hypercholesterolemia. [Published online ahead of print December 19, 2018]. Atherosclerosis. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2018.12.011.