Experts concerned about Trump’s heart health despite favorable report

Following the White House physician’s Jan. 16 assertion that President Donald Trump is in “excellent health,” a few national news outlets published stories questioning that claim.

In an editorial for The Washington Post titled “Is Trump’s doctor OK?,” Dana Milbank pointed out Ronny Jackson, MD, repeated the word “excellent” eight times in reference to Trump’s health.

“Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson was so effusive in extolling the totally amazing, surpassingly marvelous, superbly stupendous and extremely awesome health of the president that the doctor sounded almost Trumpian,” Milbank wrote.

Those who dove deeper into the medical examination raised concerns about Trump’s heart health. The president’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level of 143 is well above the recommended level of 100 or less, and CNN reported his coronary calcium score of 133 indicates he has moderate heart disease.

"His score is 133 and he is 71 years of age, which puts him in the 46 percentile," Rachel Bond, MD, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told CNN. "What does this indicate? Yes, he certainly has coronary artery disease because calcium is present. But this is also common for someone his gender, race and age.”

Jackson said after the medical exam he would be increasing Trump’s dose of rosuvastatin (Crestor) from its current level of 10 milligrams per day. Cardiologists interviewed by The New York Times said this would reduce the president’s risk of having a heart attack, although they wondered whether Trump was taking the medication in the first place or when he started the regimen. A daily 10 mg dose of Crestor should reduce LDL levels by at least 30 percent, Daniel Rader, MD, told The Times, meaning Trump’s initial LDL could been above 200 at the start of treatment.

Trump’s obesity, diet and sedentary lifestyle also contributed to the outside experts’ concern. Jackson said he is urging Trump to eat better and exercise more in an effort to drop weight.