Cholesterol levels have been shown to fluctuate with different seasons. LDL (bad or “lousy”) cholesterol levels are lower in the spring and summer and higher in the fall and winter months. LDL cholesterol causes the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. So in order to prevent heart disease you want your LDL cholesterol to be low (goal is LDL less than 100 mg/dl). HDL (good or “healthy”) cholesterol levels are higher in the spring and summer and lower in the fall or winter months. You want your HDL cholesterol level to be high – the higher the better. HDL cholesterol protects you from developing heart disease and stroke (HDL goal is greater than 60 mg/dl in women and greater than 50 mg/dl in men).
A recent study published in an April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology found that people taking cholesterol lowering medications also have lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the summer.
So it appears that adults who are taking cholesterol medications and those who are not taking medications to lower cholesterol have better cholesterol levels during the warmer months. We are not sure why this occurs, maybe during warmer months people are exercising more? This finding needs to be investigated further. But eating healthy and exercising regularly can help adults improve their cholesterol levels year round.