Will My Diet Slip Increase the Risk of Heart Attack?

  • Medical Author:
    Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI

    Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

I had CABG eight months ago and my diet has "slipped." Am I at greater risk of having another heart attack sooner if I don't clean up my bad eating habits for good?

Doctor's response

Everyone's diet may "slip" at times, but it's very important for post-bypass patients to keep the LDL ("bad") cholesterol as low as possible. For years the goal was less than 130, but in the last decade, data has shown that the LDL level should be below 100. In the last year or two, it has been shown that post-bypass patients with LDL level below 80 do better than those whose level is between 80-100. The goal should definitely now be an LDL below 80; this generally requires both medication and a good diet/exercise regime. The advantage of a good diet is that the doses of medication needed are much lower, thus with a much lower incidence of side effects.

Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine


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Reviewed on 8/15/2017