Why Should Paul Ryan Be Worried About His Heart?

When he was 16 years old, Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan found his father dead in bed of a heart attack.

The Republican Vice Presidential candidate’s father was only 55 years old when he died but this was not unusual because there is a strong family history of heart disease. Ryan’s grandfather had a fatal heart attack at age 57 and his great-grandfather died at age 59, again of a heart attack.

This worrisome family history had a significant impact on Paul Ryan’s lifestyle. Mr. Ryan, 42, said:

So I’m into the health thing

The 6 foot, 2 inch-tall Ryan is “fairly careful “about his diet, keeps his body fat between 6-8% and weighs 163 pounds. According to the BMI (body mass index) calculator at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Mr. Ryan’s BMI is 20.9.

Ryan also engages in intensive exercise. He is a former fitness trainer and a P90X “fanatic” who, most mornings, leads about a dozen Congressional colleagues in Tony Horton’s “muscle confusion” cross-training workouts.

Mr. Ryan is known for, among other things, his views on health care reform. In addition to his family medical history of heart disease, Ryan has a grandmother with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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