|Grave Concerns: President Bush's Health Timebomb?|
by Mary J. Shomon
Jan. 16, 2002-- In the wake of President Bush's health concerns, after he briefly passed out, apparently due to choking on a pretzel, a key question must be raised: is the President facing an undiagnosed case of thyroid disease?
While the President's physicians claim that he has been thoroughly checked out physically, no mention was made of any thyroid tests as part of the evaluation after this incident. Both of Bush's parents were diagnosed with the autoimmune thyroid disease known as Graves' disease, while the senior Bush was President. (Even family dog Millie came down with another autoimmune disease at the time, lupus.) What's clear, however, is that the family thyroid connection puts the current President at strong risk of developing a thyroid condition himself.
According to Hossein Gharib, M.D., F.A.C.E, president-elect of AACE and Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Medical School, "Fifty percent of thyroid disease patients' offspring will inherit the thyroid disease gene."
Graves' disease is frequently seen to come on during periods of intense stress. The elder Bush faced his bout with the autoimmune condition amidst the Gulf War, and the younger Bush has certainly faced his share of stress since the September 11th terrorist attacks and subsequent war in Afghanistan.
It's clear that, if not already being done, the President's physicians should be looking carefully at his thyroid antibodies and conducting a complete thyroid bloodwork panel, because the pretzel episode could be consistent with some of the symptoms of Graves' disease, including:
- Feeling of fullness in the throat
- Enlargement of the thyroid, known as goiter
- Choking on foods
- Irregularities in blood pressure and heart rate
- Fainting or dizziness
It's estimated that some 10 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid conditions.
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