Whole Heart

A Heart-Healthy Diet and Medication Cut His Heart Disease Risk

Though he knew he had high cholesterol, Paul Tasner, 62, of Greenbrae, Calif., didn’t realize it was high enough to put him at risk for a heart attack until he got a thorough checkup from his doctor. Unable to lower his cholesterol level through diet and exercise alone, Tasner decided to take the statin Lipitor—and he’s glad he did

"I want to live a long and active life, so I followed my doctor's advice."
A few years ago, I changed primary care physicians. The new doctor requested a series of lab tests, including a cholesterol panel. We learned my total cholesterol was as high as 298! My doctor told me that I was at risk for heart disease. Not lowering it could lead to heart attack, death, and other bad stuff.

Ive always had high cholesterol, and I tried to get it down with diet and exercise. But as Ive gotten older, I've put on weight. I travel a lot for work, and what I really dislike about business travel is that it disrupts my life. Not every hotel has an exercise room, and unless youre very fortunate, youre not in a place where healthy food is plentiful. Sometimes a family-style chain restaurant is the best place to eat, and you cant find anything healthy on the menu there unless you eat salad every day.

I think the quality of food is important for your health. My wife is pretty focused on healthy eating. We dont eat a lot of fried foods. We try to buy organic fruits and vegetables, though thats something thats not available to everybody. But I hope I dont sabotage that entirely with some of my unhealthy food practices. Im kind of a chocoholic and I love bread and baked goods. I love the street pretzels in San Francisco.

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As told to: Shuka Kalantari
Last Updated: June 11, 2008

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