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New Study: COVID And High Cholesterol Linked

Posted by S. Kit on
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Two recent studies have found that COVID-19 may increase the risk of high cholesterol for up to a year after infection. These findings have prompted doctors to take a closer look at the apparent trend and consider the potential long-term effects of the virus on overall health, NBC News reports.

The first study, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, found that people with prior COVID infection had a 24% increased risk of high cholesterol levels. The study's author, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, noted that these were people who had never had cholesterol problems before, but started experiencing issues weeks and months after contracting COVID-19.


Read more: How COVID Affects The Brain


An examination was conducted on new cases of elevated cholesterol among 51,919 individuals who had contracted COVID between March 2020 and January 2021, before vaccines became widely accessible. The study participants were individuals who sought medical attention within the Department of Veteran Affairs, with the majority being white men in their early 60's.

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When compared with 2.6 million people who did not have COVID during the same period, it was discovered that those who had contracted the virus were more inclined to have high levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, also known as the unhealthy type of cholesterol, for up to a year after. Additionally, they were observed to have a greater likelihood of having lower levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol.


Read more: COVID Causes Heart Problems


Another research study, documented in the Lancet Infectious Diseases in December, yielded comparable outcomes, however, in a significantly youthful population.

Scientists from Switzerland examined and contrasted the cholesterol levels of 177 soldiers from the Swiss military who had contracted COVID during 2020 and 251 individuals who had not contracted the virus. The average age of the participants in the study was 21 years old.

The group that had contracted COVID displayed elevated cholesterol levels, as stated by Patricia Schlagenhauf, a professor in the field of global and public health at the University of Zurich, and the author of the study. Additionally, they exhibited augmented body mass indexes post-COVID.

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"The fact that these young people have a significantly higher cholesterol, higher LDL and higher BMI points to a metabolic disorder," she said.

Similarly, Sarraju, of the Cleveland Clinic, has noticed such patters.

"We certainly have seen patients who have had COVID come in with elevated BMI or metabolic issues," he said.

The connection between COVID-19 and high cholesterol remains uncertain. Though researchers theorize that prolonged inflammation may be a contributing factor, it's also possible that changes in lifestyle, such as dietary shifts and decreased physical activity, are to blame.


Read more: Can COVID Cause High Blood Pressure?


Studies have shown a correlation between COVID and increased risk for other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.

Further research is needed to fully understand the link between COVID-19 and high cholesterol, and to determine the best ways to prevent and mitigate these risks.

In the United States, alone, since the start of the outbreak, more than 101 million COVID cases has been reported, as of Wednesday, January 25th, 2023.

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