Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Summer: A good season for cholesterol

Heart Beat

Summer: A good season for cholesterol

"To everything there is a season," says the Book of Ecclesiastes. That goes far beyond planting and casting away stones and applies to cholesterol in the bloodstream as well. The level of harmful LDL cholesterol is a bit lower, and protective HDL a bit higher, in the summer than in winter (American Journal of Cardiology, April 15, 2009). The changes aren't huge — averaging about 6 points for LDL and 2 to 3 points for HDL — but they could make a difference in whether you are on target or off with your cholesterol level. If you usually have your cholesterol tested in the summer, a winter test might give you a slightly different picture.

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