PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When is “good cholesterol season?”

Turns out, it could be right around the corner.

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In a study from Brazil, researchers looked at the cholesterol levels of more than 200,000 people who had them checked between 2008 and 2010.

They found in the winter bad cholesterol, or LHL, goes up an average of seven points, or eight percent, compared to summer.

During the summer, good cholesterol, or HDL, goes up by nine percent. Noticeable, but minor changes.

“I think if there was a study showing a 20 or 30 point change, then that would be more significant,” says Allegheny General Hospital internist Dr. Marc Itskowitz.

While it seems easy to explain…

“Many patients change their behavior in the winter, they often gain weight, they’re less active,” says Dr. Itskowitz.

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…There may be more than meets the eye.

“There may be other factors, environmental factors, like Vitamin D that we’re not aware of,” he adds.

Whether these seasonal variations translate to more heart disease and heart attacks is yet to be seen.

“This is really a preliminary study,” he points out. “What we really need to find out is there a clinical impact from these seasonal variations?”

You may want to think about getting your cholesterol readings done at the same time each year, to make comparisons of readings more fitting.

“People who are concerned about their cholesterol have to be careful what their diet is, especially in the wintertime if they’re less active,” Dr. Itskowitz advises.

This information is not yet published, but is being presented at a national cardiology conference in San Francisco.

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