High blood cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Recent studies have shown that a cholesterol-lowering diet has a principal role in reducing coronary events in humans. A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol is recommended for patients with a cholesterol level of more than 240 mg/dl or a level of between 200 and 239 mg/dl plus other risk factors. Measurement of low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels provides a baseline value by which to gauge progress. Periodic assessment by the physician will give an indication of patient compliance. For patients who do not achieve desired goals within six months, drug therapy may be necessary.
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