When it comes to President Obama’s health, some cardiologists recommend that his cholesterol levels go the way of his approval ratings: low.
On Monday, “first doctor” Jeffrey C. Kuhlman released a two-page report on the results of the president’s physical exam, his second since taking office, the New York Times reports . All signs look good. The report said the 50-year-old president has kicked his tobacco habit, gets regular exercise, eats a healthy diet and drinks alcohol every so often.
“The president is in excellent health and fit for duty,” Kuhlman said in the report.
But some cardiologists say Obama’s cholesterol numbers are a bit of a worry. His LDL, or bad cholesterol, level was 110, lower than his February 2010 score of 138. Although his new numbers are an improvement, Dr. Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said the president’s score could be lower.
“A U.S. president should have an optimal LDL of less than 100,” Mosca said. “It’s great that he is improving with his lifestyle, especially stopping smoking.”
But because the president is an ex-smoker, doctors say his risk of developing heart disease is higher. Many said taking a statin would help Obama get his bad cholesterol levels down.
When it comes to good cholesterol, called HDL, the president seems to be in great shape. The current report puts his HDL levels at 69, a dramatic improvement over his February 2010 score of 46. Such a major improvement is out of the ordinary, a few cardiologists noted.
“The LDL is modestly better than last year, which is good, but the HDL is dramatically better, which is puzzling,” said Dr. Chip Lavie, director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation and Hospital in New Orleans. “An increase of over 40 percent is way above expected, raising the possibility that either the 2010 HDL value or the current value is not accurate.”
The report did not mention if Obama currently takes medication for his cholesterol.