Atty. General Eric Holder was rushed to the hospital suffering from two symptoms –faintness and shortness of breath – that could indicate a heart problem or some other less-serious cause stemming from his high stress job, a top doctor notes.
Holder, 63, was taken to the hospital after the attorney general reported experiencing the symptoms during his regular meeting with senior staff at the justice department. He is reported to be “resting comfortably” and “alert and talking with this doctors,’ according to news reports.
Holder’s symptoms of faintness and shortness of breath, along with his age, race and high-stress occupation, due point suspicion to a “cardiac cause,” but there could be other reasons as well, says Dr. Chauncey Crandall, author of the #1 Amazon best seller “The Simple Heart Cure.”
“The Number One killer of government officials is heart disease. Period. No other disease comes close,” said Dr. Crandall. However, pneumonia, anxiety or even job stress could also account for the symptoms, he added. He noted, however, that Holder’s age, his African-American heritage, and his high-profile high-stress job all could take a toll on the heart.
The first African American to hold the Attorney General post, Holder has presided over a number of high-profile cases. Although Dr. Crandall has never treated Holder, he said that, from the symptoms of feeling faint and short of breath, his first suspicion would be a heart-related cause. Possibilities could include an impending heart attack, unstable angina due to coronary heart disease and a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lungs that is also more likely in people that travel a great deal, he said.
Heart disease is the Number One killer of Americans regardless of their race, but African American men are at double the risk for fatal heart disease than are non-Hispanic white men. They are also 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure – a major heart disease risk factor – and they are at higher risk for diabetes as well. It is not known if Holder, who appears in good health, suffered from any of these ailments.
Another suspected cardiac cause might be an arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. “This is a condition that occurs with more frequency in people after the age of 60,” said Dr. Crandall, who is director of preventative medicine at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Center. He noted that attorney general “is a little young” to have developed atrial fibrillation, a serious heartbeat irregularity that can cause such symptoms, and generally appears in people around the age of 70.
He noted that non-cardiac causes for Holder’s symptoms, such as anxiety, pneumonia, or even asthma, are also possibilities, although it is not known if the attorney general had suffered from any of these ailments or had been recently sick.
Holder is hospitalized at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, where he is probably undergoing a full battery of cardiac tests, Dr. Crandall surmised. He noted that Medstar is one of the top cardiac centers in the world, as are the other major hospitals that are clustered in the Washington, D.C. area.
“Because of the high-stress atmosphere of Washington D.C., and the high profile people who work there, including politicians, lobbyists and business people, the area has the best cardiac care in the world so there is no doubt that he will receive excellent treatment,” Dr. Crandall added.