Christie Cuts Weight as Heart Risk Contained, Doctor SaysElise Young
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released his medical history yesterday, distributing a doctor’s letter that said an exam this month was “unremarkable,” noting his low cholesterol levels and an unspecified weight loss.
His total cholesterol, an indication of risk for heart disease, was 139 mg/dl, the doctor said, a figure that is well below the federally recommended limit of 200 mg/dl. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, considered “good” cholesterol, measured 45; the less-desirable low-density type, called LDL, was 83.
Christie, 51, a Republican who is running for a second term next month, hasn’t ruled out a 2016 bid for U.S. president.
“He is aware of being overweight and has taken several measures to address this issue,” Rachana Kulkarni, chief of cardiology at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, New Jersey, said in the letter released by the governor’s office. The doctor didn’t say what Christie weighs, while she said he exercises regularly and has a healthful diet.
The governor had lap-band surgery on Feb. 16 “and has been losing weight steadily since then,” Kulkarni said, without giving a specific figure. “He has no medical limitations and is fit to serve as the governor of the state of New Jersey.”
Ten days before the operation, Christie responded to criticism of his weight by Connie Mariano, a former White House doctor, calling her a “hack” who should “shut up.” The governor didn’t publicly disclose the surgery until May, saying he had considered it a family matter.
Christie was diagnosed with hypertension two years ago and asthma 30 years ago. Each is “well controlled under his current medical regimen,” the doctor said, reporting his blood pressure as 110 over 70.
An asthma attack led to difficulty breathing in June 2011, as Christie was heading to a public appearance, and he was driven to Somerset for treatment. His weight, he said later, “exacerbates everything,” and he said obesity was “one of the major struggles of my life.”
Christie has had an almost 30-point lead in voter surveys heading into the Nov. 5 election against his Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono of Metuchen. The candidates in a debate on Oct. 8 said they would make their medical information available.
Buono, 60, on Oct. 15 released a letter from Jeffrey L. Carson, her doctor, stating she was in “excellent health” with a blood pressure of 112/70 and a pulse of 78 beats per minute.
The senator, a slender woman who gave birth to four children and is the stepmother of two more, sticks to a running regimen. Her elevated cholesterol of 268 mg/dl is offset by a very high level of the “good” variety, said Carson, who teaches medicine at Rutgers University, in the letter.
Buono takes vitamins and aspirin, the letter said. Kulkarni didn’t say whether the governor takes any medicine.
Christie’s blood tests in September showed normal electrolytes, kidney function, liver function and blood sugars, according to the doctor. An exam on Oct. 19 showed a heart rate of 68 beats per minute. Cardiac tests from 2012 and 2013 were normal, Kulkarni said.
“After he turned 50, Governor Christie has taken a very proactive role in his health,” Kulkarni said. She said the governor’s four-day exercise regimen includes aerobics and resistance training for an hour.
In the time since he had his stomach banded to reduce its capacity, Christie “has been very compliant with his treatment and follow-ups,” Kulkarni said.