For anyone with cardiovascular disease who has been prescribed medications to battle the condition, there's no better feeling than being told by your doctor that the drugs have lowered your blood pressure and cholesterol. But be careful how you celebrate.

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New research published in Circulation, the American Heart Association's journal, found that cardiovascular patients who did not eat a heart-healthy diet were at higher risk for death than those who followed a sound nutrition plan, even after medications lowered other risk factors. Specifically, those with lower risk had a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish and lower in red meat. The study followed 31,546 adults with an average age of 661/2.

Researchers noted that patients sometimes see the better numbers from drug therapy and resume unhealthy eating, which puts them back at high risk for suffering a heart attack or stroke.