Health and Medical History of PresidentBill Clinton: Cardiovascular Risk Factors Over Time
Clinton's cholesterol level, and, more generally, his overall cardiovascular risk, were a concern as early as 1992. Details are summarized on an accessory web page, where Dr. Zebra does some rather unattractive ranting, but it's in the good cause of getting more people to take statin medications... BELOW.
In sum, Clinton had five exercise tolerance tests while President; it was felt at his last Presidential physical examination (in 2001) that another such test was unwarranted. He started taking simvastatin (Zocor) at that time, because of elevated cholesterol levels, as discussed in a press conference MORE.
In September 2004 Clinton needed urgent coronary bypass surgery (see below).
~ In 1992 Clinton's moderately elevated cholesterol level was "under control," ~ by means unstated. On August 27, 1992 his blood pressure was 130/70, with a heart rate ~ of 75/minute. An electrocardiogram was normal. Glucose level was 104 mg/dl (this ~ is near the top of the normal range) and creatinine (renal function) was normal at 1.0 1a
~ On a ?1992 stress test (better called an "exercise tolerance test"), Clinton ~ exercised for 14 minutes on a Bruce protocol to 91% of his maximally predicted ~ heart rate (i.e. 91% of 175 is 159). There were no abnormal electrocardiographic changes ~ during or after the test 1a.
Comment: This is an absolutely typical course for coronary artery disease. A seemingly fit person without classic risk factors for heart disease has cholesterol levels that for years do not evoke excitement. Exercise tests give a false sense of security. All of a sudden, it seems, chest discomfort develops and an angiogram shows advanced disease that requires urgent intervention. Only now are cardiologists coming to the conclusion that the physiologically normal level of LDL cholesterol is 50 to 70 mg/dl
Only now are cardiologists coming to the conclusion that the physiologically normal level of LDL cholesterol is 50 to 70 mg/dl4, not the ridiculous 130 average found ~ in the bloodstreams of Americans, a nation of car-drivers and chair-sitters, ~ stuffing itself with fat and fast food.
~ New guidelines 2, issued in July 2004, "give permission" for doctors to aim for ~ lower LDL levels than in the recent past, but do not encourage it. ~ These new guidelines, for example, ~ would not have recommended lower cholesterol levels for Clinton.
~ The current "statin" class of cholesterol-lowering medicines are ~ remarkable in their ability to lower not only cholesterol levels, but death rates, too. ~ More people should be taking a statin. Lots more. Some researchers have calculated that ~ putting all persons over age 55 on a statin, regardless of cholesterol level, ~ would drop heart disease by 80% 5.
~ Many people are reluctant to take medicines, on principle. Horse hockey. ~ The statins are a medicine all persons should look forward to taking. ~ The American diet and lifestyle are powerful anti-medicines that these same ~ people gulp down each day.
~ Heart attack and stroke can kill a person as quickly and as unexpectedly ~ as a hijacked airplane. A million people ~ die each year from this arterial terrorism, just in the United States. ~ In 20% of people who die ~ suddenly from heart disease, death was their first symptom of the disease. ~ That is really terrifying.