Ten Presidents Have Suffered Strokes
MAYWOOD, Ill. – Ten of the nation's 44 presidents likely suffered strokes during their presidencies or after leaving office, according to Dr. José Biller, a Loyola University Medical Center neurologist. Woodrow Wilson was so incapacitated by a series of strokes that his wife, Edith, became the virtual acting president. Franklin Roosevelt died of a massive stroke on April 12, 1945, leaving the presidency to an unprepared Harry Truman just as World War II was ending. And in 2000, former President Gerald Ford began slurring his words during a TV interview. "Strokes affect the brain. And everything we do - from simple motor functions to more complex behaviors such as planning, reasoning and judgment - is brain-related," Biller said. "When a stroke affects a president, it can have a major impact not only on the individual, but on the world." lifestyles. Chester Arthur was obese and got little exercise. Franklin Roosevelt was a heavy smoker. Andrew Johnson may have abused alcohol. Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower suffered nonfatal strokes while in office. (Unlike Wilson, Ike did not suffer serious disabilities). Seven presidents - John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford - suffered strokes after leaving office. What happens if a president suffers a debilitating stroke while in office? The 25th Amendment to the Constitution provides a mechanism for the vice president to become acting president should the president be unable to perform his or her duties. Stroke treatments have significantly improved in recent years. And the sooner a patient arrives at the hospital, the better the outcome, Biller said. In reviewing the screening factors, the Miller School researchers found that 31 percent of all teens had one risk factor for cardiovascular disease – an abnormal ECG, an elevated blood pressure or an elevated body mass index. In addition, 15 percent had two risk factors, and 4 percent had three risk factors. “For teens with three risk factors, the prevalence of borderline or abnormal ECGs consistent with possible early heart disease was very concerning at 26.9 percent,” said Lipshultz. “This study suggests that there are a high number of teens with cardiovascular abnormalities who could benefit from counseling and interventions to reduce the risk of future heart problems.” Overall, 50 percent of the screened students had one or more abnormal risk factors for premature cardiovascular disease. However, when BMI and blood pressure results were both normal, there was a low chance that the heart was adversely affected with an abnormal ECG, according to Lipshultz.