Since Tim Russert's untimely death on June 13, 2008, more information about his medical history has come to light.
According to Tim's physician, Dr. Michael Newman, we know that Tim had these findings:
Fasting blood glucose=104 (Normal is 70-100)
Hemoglobin A1c=5.7 (Normal is 4-6)
HDL (the "good cholesterol")=37 (Normal is greater than 40)
LDL (the "bad cholesterol)=68 (Normal is less than 130)
Increased waist circumference
High blood pressure, controlled by medication
Heart scan=210 in 1998 (The score should be zero)
Tim did not have diabetes, but his fasting blood sugar was elevated. His HDL was low and his triglycerides were high. This indicates that he ate a relatively high percentage of carbohydrates in his diet. He was overweight and had high blood pressure. Taken together, these findings suggest that Tim Russert was starting to experience metabolic syndrome, a condition which includes elevated fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance.
The picture above illustrates some of the damage discussed in the previous post, describing what elevated blood glucose and insulin do to the interior of our arteries. They produce fat and cholesterol deposits, promote smooth muscle thickening, cause oxidative damage and make the arteries stiffer because of AGE (Advanced Glycation Endproduct)-related damage. If the carbohydrate hypothesis of heart disease is correct, Tim Russert was a prime candidate for a heart attack, not a person whose sudden death from cardiac arrest should have come as a surprise to his physician.
In case you're interested, several other bloggers have written about the issues raised by Tim Russert's untimely death:
Jackie Eberstein, R.N.
William Davis, M.D.