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A Guide to Heart Health

If You Have High Cholesterol...

"Exercising regularly and reducing your intake of unhealthy foods may be enough to get mildly elevated cholesterol back into the healthy range," says Jerome Granato, M.D., medical director of the coronary care unit at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and author of Living with Coronary Heart Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press). Cutting back on saturated fat, found in animal products, may lower cholesterol by about 10%. But some people have high cholesterol simply because their liver cranks out a ton of it. They could strip every last milligram of cholesterol from their diets and their levels still would be elevated because their livers produce so much, explains Dr. Granato. When you need to rack up some big-time reductions, doctors start scribbling prescriptions for medications like the ones following.