Deadly myth of ‘nonclinical’ heart disease
Springfield physician calls president’s physical a ‘teachable moment’
Test results from President Trump’s annual physical reveal he has atherosclerosis, a common type of heart disease, the leading killer of Americans, often from heart attacks or strokes.
At a White House briefing, the president’s doctor, Ronny Jackson, M.D., initially denied that Trump has heart disease, then called the atherosclerosis “nonclinical,” meaning that the president is symptom-free. Dr. Jackson credited “good genes” for Trump’s “excellent” health.
The president’s diagnosis raises concern, says Pierre Leimgruber, M.D., FAAC, a former interventional cardiologist who now works at the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center (HASPC) in Spokane, Washington, using the BaleDoneen Method of heart attack and stroke prevention practiced by hundreds of clinicians globally. “If arterial disease goes undetected or isn’t properly treated, the first symptom can be a heart attack, stroke or death.”
Former president Bill Clinton is a case in point, adds Dr. Leimgruber. “Despite having similar heart risks as President Trump – high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise and a high-fat diet – President Clinton was deemed in ‘very good health’ based on a 2001 physical and felt fine. By the time he developed symptoms – chest pain and shortness of breath – his arteries were so severely blocked that he needed emergency quadruple bypass surgery to prevent a massive heart attack.”
Could Trump be headed for a heart attack or stroke? It is possible, says Amy Doneen, DNP, medical director of the HASPC and cofounder of the BaleDoneen Method. “The test that identified the president’s atherosclerosis – coronary artery calcium score (CACS) – only measures calcified (stable) plaque. It doesn’t check for soft, unstable plaque, the dangerous kind that can spark heart attacks and strokes if it becomes inflamed and ruptures.”
The BaleDoneen Method uses leading-edge testing to check for inflammation and other heart threats, including genetic risks, says Doneen, coauthor of Beat the Heart Attack Gene: The Revolutionary Plan to Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes. “About 50 percent of Americans carry genes that raise heart attack and stroke risk. Understanding each patient’s unique genetic makeup guides the best, personalized treatments to prevent heart attacks and strokes, including a diet based on that person’s DNA.” Two peer-reviewed studies have shown that the BaleDoneen Method can prevent, stabilize or even reverse arterial disease.
Trump’s diagnosis is a teachable moment, says Craig Backs, M.D., founder of The Center for Prevention Heart Attack and Stroke in Springfield. “It sends the wrong message to say that atherosclerosis isn’t a problem until symptoms strike. If your car’s ‘check engine’ light went on, would you wait until the engine blew up before having it repaired?”
Adds Backs, “This is an important opportunity for the president and his physicians to raise awareness of a disease that kills more than 2,000 Americans every day – one every 40 seconds – and to spread the wonderful news that with optimal medical care and sensible lifestyle changes, heart attacks and strokes are potentially preventable.”