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How Does Having Coronary Heart Disease Affect My Treatment?


I have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Or I have had one or more of these: angina, heart attack, stroke, mini-stroke, peripheral vascular disease, angioplasty, or bypass surgery.

Likely Treatment: It is very important to keep your LDL - known as the bad cholesterol - level below 100 mg/dL. The reason for this limit is that it may help keep your atherosclerosis from getting worse.

Your current LDL cholesterol level will affect the treatment your doctor recommends for you.

If your LDL cholesterol is 130 mg/dL or higher, your doctor will likely recommend that you make changes to your lifestyle. These are called Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, in the May 2001 National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines. TLC includes getting more exercise and eating a healthy diet. You will need to follow a diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. How much exercise you need will depend on your fitness level and health. Your doctor will be able to guide you to the right amount. You will also need to lose weight if you are overweight. Your doctor will also talk with you about controlling your other risk factors for heart disease. Most people also need medicine to lower their cholesterol to healthier levels.

If your LDL cholesterol is 100 mg/dL to 129 mg/dL, your doctor is likely to recommend TLC changes. These are listed above for people who have levels higher than 130 mg/dL. Your doctor may wait to put you on medicine to see how well your efforts at TLC work to reduce your levels.

If your LDL cholesterol is less than 100 mg/dL, you do not need to lower it any further. You should still follow TLC as listed above. Doing so will help keep your LDL at the optimal levels.