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Bill Clinton has heart surgery

Bill Clinton has heart surgery Full recovery expected

Former US president Bill Clinton underwent heart surgery yesterday after complaining of chest pains.

Surgeons inserted two stents - tiny mesh tubes - into a blocked coronary artery. The procedure, which took an hour, was performed at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Without the operation, Mr Clinton may have been at risk of a heart attack.

He was reported to be "in good spirits", and is expected to make a full recovery.

In 2004 Mr Clinton underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery at the same hospital, after it was discovered that four of his arteries were 90% blocked.

With high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and a family history of heart disease Mr Clinton had three main risk factors for heart disease. Added to this, Mr. Clinton was also known to enjoy fast food and cigars.

Since then the former president has changed his diet, stopped smoking and is now said to exercise regularly.

His cardiologist, Dr Alan Schwarz, described his current lifestyle as "excellent."

In the UK, heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Over a third of all deaths in the UK are caused by heart disease and stroke, accounting for over 190,000 deaths a year.

Heart disease alone is responsible for approximately one in five deaths in men and one in six deaths in women.

Most at risk of heart disease

Anyone who is over 40, overweight and "too busy" to exercise should make the time to have their blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels checked by their GP. The tests are simple to do and painless.

In addition to this, your GP can also assess your risk by taking height, waist and weight measurements.

Other factors which increase your risk of heart disease include:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high blood cholesterol levels
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having diabetes
  • Having a family history of heart disease
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Ageing - your risk increases with age
  • Ethnicity - e.g. people of South Asian descent in the UK are at higher risk

This article was published on Fri 12 February 2010

Image © Getty

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