Wednesday, 12 July 2017 17:24

The Presidents and Their Medical Issues

It’s been long postulated that JFK could have survived if he wasn’t wearing his back brace the day he was shot.  President Kennedy suffered from many issues including Addison’s disease and multiple back surgeries.  His brace possibly kept him upright when the first shot hit, whereas he could have slumped over and been out of the line of fire during the second shot.

 

The medical issues plaguing our Presidents used to be kept secret, a luxury current politicians can’t fathom in today’s media world.  Each President faced insurmountable tasks on national and global levels.  Let’s now take a look at what our leaders battled personally.

 

George Washington – I cannot tell a lie….

 

It is believed that George Washington suffered from diphtheria, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, dysentery, possible sterility, tonsillitis, and epiglottitis.  He appeared to have  many issues with the back of his throat.  Syphilis has been debated but then again many people at the time had syphilis (Abraham Lincoln supposedly had syphilis when he was younger).

 

George Washington had one original tooth left by the time he became president.

His teeth were not made of wood…..instead made of hippopotamus/walrus/elephant ivory or transplanted teeth.

 

The tooth loss could have been from the mercury oxide that was used to treat his smallpox and malaria.

During one of his battles it's been said he had to ride with a pillow on his saddle while being ill with fever.  It is believed that the dysentery left his bottom in so much pain that he required a pillow on which to sit.

 

In 1799, George Washington died of presumed epiglottitis, sore throat, and difficulty breathing.  His end was a painful one as doctors burned and blistered him to draw out the humors.

James Garfield – “Did the doctors kill this President”

 

James Garfield was shot twice (once in the arm and once in the back) on July 2, 1881.  The bullets and wounds supposedly were not lethal but the un-sterile technique used (the practitioners used their fingers to find the bullets while he lay at the train station) caused him to have an infection and his doctors supposedly restricted his eating since they thought the bullet pierced the bowel.

 

They fed James Garfield by rectal enema.   He was fed beef bouillon, egg yolks, milk, whisky and opium through his rectum.  It was considered a “nutritional enema.”

 

Interestingly, Alexander Graham Bell devised a metal detector made of a battery and several metal coils positioned on a wooden platform, connected to an earpiece to help find the bullet. Unfortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful. James Garfield died 80 days later.

Thomas Jefferson – ahead of his time…….

Thomas Jefferson lived until he was 83.  He was not a vegetarian but ate less meat than others and increased his vegetable intake.

 

His sleep habits were also good – 5-8 hours of sleep in a “reclined” position.   “Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.”

 

He was against tobacco, and moderately used alcohol. “…you are not to conclude I am a drinker. My measure is a perfectly sober 3 or 4 glasses at dinner, and not a drop at any other time. But as to those 3 or 4 glasses I am very fond.”

 

Its been postulated he also had Aspergers…….

 

William Taft –  Poster child for sleep apnea and the “Atkins diet”.

 

President Taft weighed over 300 lbs. and supposedly would nod off during the day and during meetings with world leaders. It was therefore presumed he had narcolepsy, most likely a result of his sleep apnea.

His doctor put him on a low carb diet and he lost 60 lbs.

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt –  as if polio wasn’t enough…..

In addition to being a victim to polio, cerebral hemorrhage and very high blood pressure, its been postulated that FDR had malignant melanoma above his left eyebrow….possibly the cause of his hemorrhage when it spread to the brain.

 

fdr

Abraham Lincoln – was he suicidal?

Firstly, let's discuss the myth that Abraham Lincoln had Marfan’s Syndrome.  We now understand he didn’t but actually had a genetic disorder, MEN2B  which gave him a Marfanoid appearance (tall, lanky, long limbs), large lower lip, history of constipation, bumpy lips, “pseudodepression,” and his mother possibly suffered the same disorder.

 

Was Lincoln suicidal?  The poem, Suicide’s Soliloquy was believed to be authored by Abraham Lincoln.

Why did it take Abraham Lincoln 11 hours to die from his fatal wound? ……Doctors actually relieved the intracranial pressure, and appeared to do an amazing job considering the time. Unfortunately he fell unconscious immediately, and they never were able to revive him.

Woodrow Wilson – Was he always in charge?

In October of 1919, Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke. After his medical incident it's believed his wife Edith ran the country while he was bedridden. He died in 1924, three years after leaving office at the age of 67.

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower – if your heart’s not in it…..

 

In 1955 he suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack). He originally thought he suffered from indigestion.  Recovery time was much slower than modern day and he was kept on bed rest for months.  He was considering resigning.  Months later he regained his strength and successfully ran for a second term.

 

John F. Kennedy – did his back brace kill him?

Why was JFK so “tan”? He suffered from Addison’s disease and along with this suffered from chronic back problems.  He required  multiple injections and medicines on a routine basis after a series of failed back surgeries.

 

His back brace may have cost him his life……Historians believe he didn’t slump over after the first shot (prevented by the brace) and was therefore sitting upright when the second shot hit his head.

 

jfk-slump

 

JFK appears to be in his back brace that day.  If the first shot caused him to fall over, historians believe he could still be alive today, avoiding the second fatal shot to his head.

 

Other reported maladies affecting some U.S. Presidents include:

 

Ulysses S. Grant – throat cancer

Chester Arthur – Bright’s disease

Teddy Roosevelt – detached retina

Herbert Hoover – GI Cancer and GI bleed

Richard Nixon – phlebitis, blood clots

George HW Bush – hyperthyroidism/Graves disease

In short, Presidents are not always in the finest of health and may suffer the same maladies their constituents do.  Washington has always found a way to keep this from the public and may continue to despite today’s technology.

 

LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

Published in News & Information

Antibiotic resistant strains of the sexually transmitted illness, Neisseria gonorrhea, have been on the rise, and the World Health Organization cites oral sex as a culprit.

 

“Super-Gonorrhea” is a term used for a gonorrhea infection that cannot be treated by conventional antibiotic therapy. Drug resistant strains cause infections that cannot be cured, hence increasing its risk of morbidity and spread to other individuals who think their partner is “cured.”

 

Gonorrhea infection may present with green/yellow discharge emanating from the penile urethra or female vagina or it may be asymptomatic. Additionally the bacteria could colonize or infect the rectum, mouth, or disseminate throughout the body, causing arthritis, rash and multiple other maladies. Untreated gonorrhea can also lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and increase one’s risk of acquiring HIV.

 

Oral sex allows an easy route of transmission if condoms aren’t used.  According to Dr. Teodora Wi, WHO Medical Officer, “When you use antibiotics to treat infections like a normal sore throat, this mixes with the Neisseria species in your throat and this results in resistance.”

 

Let me explain. Superbugs develop when a bacteria survives an antibiotic treatment that should have killed it. The surviving bacteria, with its “super genes,” makes offspring that has the same “super genes” capable of withstanding the same antibiotic that didn’t kill its parent. The more exposure a bacteria has to antibiotics that it can withstand, the greater the possibility of it developing antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics used to kill throat infections are not always designed to kill off gonorrhea, hence any gonorrhea sitting in the throat after oral sex can produce resistant progeny.

 

Until recently, gonorrhea would be treated with a single dose of ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin, or azithromycin. Due to a rise in resistance to these individual medications, the current treatment for gonorrhea infection recommended by the CDC is a single dose of 250 mg of intramuscular ceftriaxone AND 1g of oral azithromycin.

 

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LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in News & Information

A Houston boy who went swimming at Texas City Dike over Memorial Day Weekend died days later from reportedly “dry drowning,” or possible “secondary drowning.”

 

“Dry Drowning” sometimes gets confused with secondary drowning. The latter occurs when fluid gets into the lungs when one swims and hours, or days later (out of the water), causes respiratory failure.  As will be discussed below, dry drowning causes a spasm of the vocal cords which inhibits breathing.

 

Frankie, 4 years old, appeared fine until a few days later, his father, Francisco Delgado, Jr., said he appeared to be suffering from a minor, stomach ailment. Then one morning the boy woke up with shoulder pain, and “Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said ahhh.”  His father told KTRK, “He took his last breath and I didn’t know what to do no more.”

 

Despite efforts by paramedics and the parents, Frankie passed. A GoFundMePage has been created for the family to help with funeral expenses.

What is “Dry Drowning” and “Secondary Drowning”?

Dry Drowning occurs when water touches the first pass of the respiratory tree, one’s vocal cords, larynx.  When water touches this area a reflex is triggered, causing a spasm (laryngospasm) such that the vocal cords constrict and close up the airway. It's a defense mechanism designed to prevent water from falling into the lungs. However, laryngospasm causes immediate hypoxia, lack of oxygen, and if not reversed, the victim will die.  In dry drowning, water never officially reaches the lungs.

 

bronchi_lungs.jpg

 

In Secondary Drowning, water gets inhaled and sits in the respiratory tree and if uncleared through coughing, will sit and prevent proper oxygenation. Moreover the water will irritate the lung linings causing more fluid and inflammation, resulting in pulmonary edema. This could occur hours to days after the water activity.

 

According to Florida Hospital Tampa pediatrician, Dr. James Orlowski, these events are very rare, comprising only 1-2% of drowning incidents.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms for both “Dry” and “Secondary Drowning” are similar in which the victim could have any of the following:

 

  • Cough

  • Chest Pain

  • Difficulty Breathing

  • Shoulder Pain

  • Neck Pain

  • Confusion

  • Irritability

  • Behavior Changes

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty speaking

 

to name a few…

Prevention

Horse play in water should be avoided. This includes bathtubs, plastic pools, hot tubs, pools, lakes, ocean, etc.

 

Never swim alone.

 

Swim in areas staffed with lifeguards and/or appropriate supervision. If water does get inhaled watch the child or adult to look for any of the above symptoms. If concerned seek medical help immediately.

 

LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

Published in News & Information

For centuries, multiple civilizations have used cannabis to treat various medical conditions, including seizures. This week researchers from NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center found a chemical in marijuana to do just that.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a liquid medication containing cannabidiol, one of the many chemicals in marijuana, reduced convulsive seizures in children by half.

Created by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex, brand name, was the drug used in this study and has not yet received FDA approval.

As opposed to THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol does not cause euphoria and has been the subject of many studies for its medicinal applications.

In this study, researchers tested 120 children with Dravet’s syndrome and found those given Epidiolex not only suffered less seizures, but 5% of the children were seizure-free during the 14 week trial.

Side effects, however, were reported such as fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia (loss of appetite).

What is a seizure?

 

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  If the electricity doesn’t conduct properly, brain function gets disrupted. This could lead to convulsions  (involuntary jerking movements), loss of muscle tone, changes in senses such as vision, hearing and smell, loss of bladder control, loss of consciousness and sometimes stroke, brain damage and death.

What is Epilepsy?

 

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

What is Dravet Syndrome?

 

Dravet Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that starts in infancy.  Children can suffer a variety of seizures and may eventually suffer from developmental delay and learning disorders.  What makes Dravet Syndrome so severe is the fact that the seizures are refractory to many anti-seizure medications.

 

 

More research needs to be done in this area, but these preliminary findings give parents and the medical community hope that a pharmaceutical option could exist in the near future for these devastating and potentially fatal seizures.

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LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

Published in News & Information

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