Transcending Politics: Former President Bush's recent surgery

If arteriosclerosis can dramatically affect the life of a former president, none of us are immune from its life-threatening impact. Photo: Scott Applewhite / AP

SAN DIEGO, August 13, 2013 — When it was reported last week that former President George W. Bush, an avid sportsman, recently underwent successful heart surgery to correct a blocked artery, many across the nation were astounded to hear of his serious condition.

If arteriosclerosis can dramatically affect the life, even that of a former president, demonstrating that none of us are immune from its life-threatening impact.

According to cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association: Bush “underwent a stent implementation of his coronary artery due to an abnormal stress test.”

Afterward, Bush’s spokesperson stated that: “Bush is in high spirits. He is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who cared for him.”

Former President Bush is not alone in his battle with arteriosclerosis. Former President Bill Clinton’s experience is another example.

Clinton underwent a quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004, followed by an additional surgery in 2005 to remove excess fluid in his chest cavity and to remove scar tissue in that area. Later, in 2010, Clinton underwent a double coronary stent implantation.


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After interviewing Clinton, writer Joe Conason, wrote in the August/September 2013 edition of AARP that, “I first noticed a change in Clinton’s eating habits when we were in Capetown, South Africa, back in July, 2010.”

Clinton’s healthier lifestyle modifications seemed to occur following a variety of life-threatening, heart-related episodes and surgeries.

Clinton, known for his fondness of eating spareribs and other high-fat foods during his presidency, had this to say to Conason during his recent interview about following the dramatic lifestyle changes he chose to implement, “I have so much more energy now! I feel great.”

AP FILE PHOTO

There are a variety of risk factors involved in the development of arteriosclerosis, which is also believed to indicate a future of more serious forms of heart disease. Awareness and assessment of lifestyle and other habits provides the opportunity to create positive change and even prevention.

Published in the 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association, the abstract, “Sleeping Longer May Reduce Coronary Artery Calcification Risk,” and written by co-authors Christopher Ryan King; Kristen L. Knutson; Paul J. Rathouz; Steve Sidney; Kiang Liu; and Diane S. Lauderdale, the following are primary risk factors:

High Risk Factors

-Being male

-Being older

-Glucose Intolerance

-Tobacco use

-High cholesterol levels and other disorders of lipoprotein metabolism

-Hypertension (high blood pressure)

-Obesity

-Raised inflammatory markers

-A low educational level

The co-authors further posited that “sleep quantity and quality has been found to be related to several of the risk factors.”

Though it is sometimes considered a man’s disease, postmenopausal women are three times more likely than premenopausal women to develop arteriosclerosis.

According to Dr. Lawrence Phillips, an assistant professor in the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York, “Heart disease can attack anyone. Sometimes we are fooled to think that heart disease only impacts people who are overweight, eat unhealthy and have multiple medical problems. That is just not true.”

Tufts University Nutrition Scientists published their My Plate for Older Adults in 2011, to offer suggestions for providing health, dietary and lifestyle guidelines for older adults who are at the greatest risk for arteriosclerosis. The following are their recommendations:

Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines for Older Adults

-Bright-colored vegetables

-Deep-colored fruits

-Whole, enriched and fortified grains and cereals

-Low-fat and non-fat dairy products

-Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meats and eggs

-Vegetable oils, soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat

-Liquid vegetable oils, soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat

-Fluids such as water and fat-free milk

Arteriosclerosis affects people of all ages (with a proclivity for older adults), religions, backgrounds, and political parties and the like.

No one is immune.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

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