Screening of young hypercholesterolemics is important because they are highly susceptible to atherosclerotic diseases. However, in some cases, serum cholesterol level may be elevated temporarily due to stress or other psychological factors. This study examined the effects of mood states on 'persistent' hypercholesterolemia in comparison with 'temporary' hypercholesterolemia among students entering a university. The subjects were 114 untreated first-year students aged 18 to 20 years old. All had been screened positive for hypercholesterolemia (serum total cholesterol ≥220 mg/dl) upon enrolling in the university. Three months after the screening, they were divided into two groups according to the re-examined serum total cholesterol level; a persistent hypercholesterolemic group (n=41) with >220 mg/dl and a temporary hypercholesterolemic group (n=73) with <220 mg/dl. At that time, they completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) with tension-anxiety, depression, anger-hostility, vigor, fatigue and confusion scales. The POMS depression scores and the female ratio were higher (both p<0.01) and body mass index was lower (p<0.05) in the persistent hypercholesterolemic subjects than in the temporary hypercholesterolemic subjects; the POMS depression scores were still higher (p<0.05) after controlling for the effects of gender, body mass index, and other POMS scales by multiple logistic regression analysis. Depressive mood appeared to relate to hypercholesterolemia when the university students were screened. Assessment of mood states may be important in screening young hypercholesterolemic patients.
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