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Menstruation may affect cholesterol test results

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol test results may be less reliable for women depending on the point they are at in their menstrual cycle, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The results suggest that women who are seeking cholesterol testing should time the procedure to coincide with the most consistent times of their cycle.

Researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development gave 259 women as many as 16 measurements of cholesterol spread throughout the menstrual cycle. They found that cholesterol levels can fluctuate as much as 20 percent throughout the course of the cycle. Levels are highest during the first half of the cycle, then drop later on.

"Cholesterol testing should be done at the same time of your cycle each month," study researcher Sunni L. Mumford told WebMD Health News. "Cholesterol levels are the highest in the first half of the cycle and then after ovulation, they start to go down."

She added that fluctuations were greatest in obese women.

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