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PCP feels cholesterol lowering drugs are necessary as my total cholesterol has been elevated > 6 months. However, my cardiologist states I have little to no risk factors, and an high HDL of 97 offers strong protection against CHD, especially considering the LDL is only slightly elevated at 131. In response to your question, no, I have not maximized/optimized my dietary changes, and have decided I will do that first - I believe the additional fiber, plant sterols, and elimination of saturated animal fats (red meat) will definitely pull down the LDL. Thanks for your advice.