What is the leading cause of death among U.S. Presidents?

Every February, on the third Monday of the month, we celebrate the birthdays of two historically significant presidents.  (Washington and Lincoln). In addition, the federal holiday recognizes the other forty-four men who have served or are currently serving our country.

Because February is also a month for heart and stroke awareness, I was curious to find out the cause of death of thirty-eight of our United States Presidents.  Ironically, strokes and heart disease were the two main causes of death.

How to prevent strokes?

Research shows that the official cause of death of seven of our presidents was due to a stroke or cerebral vascular accident.  The first president to die of a stroke was John Quincy Adams in 1848.  My guess is that he did not have the health education we have today.  As we know, our lifestyle makes a difference.  Here are some common sense suggestions that can reduce the likelihood of having a stroke.

Vitamin enriched vegetables:  The American Heart Association recommends an increase in the intake of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.  Several servings a day along with grains and cereals that are fortified with these vitamins will help reduce cardiovascular disease.

Lowering blood pressure and keeping cholesterol in check is very important.  Reduce sodium and saturated fats, drink alcohol in moderation, and exercise on a regular basis in order to reduce the risk of stroke.

There is no debate that tobacco products are deadly!  Give yourself the best gift for life and quit smoking.  According to Us News and World Report, smokers on the average double the risk of ischemic stroke.  If you think the damage has already been done, think again!  Research shows that when subjects cease smoking, the risk for a stroke returned to normal after two years.

Ask your physician if you can take a low dose aspirin.  Many physicians recommend a daily aspirin as a preventive measure for heart attacks, strokes, or cardiovascular accidents.  A blood thinner may also be prescribed for those who are at risk or have had a history of heart disease and stroke.

Finally, women who are on hormone replacement therapy may want to re-evaluate the benefits. Studies have shown that synthetic HRT has increased the risk of stroke among women over age 60.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

The National Stroke Association has promoted an acronym that educates the public on the four signs of a stroke. .. F A S T.   According to the association, act FAST and CALL 911 immediately at any sign of a stroke.

F – Face:  Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop?
A- Arms:  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?
S- Speech:  Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.  Is their speech slurred or strange?
T- Time:  If you observe any of the above signs, call 9-1-1 immediately

As history has revealed, the perils of strokes and heart disease are timeless.  However, we definitely have the opportunity to improve our life expectancy by taking into account the preventive measures and also raise our awareness of the warning signs.  So…I am sure you are curious to know the names of the presidents that died as result of a stroke.  The presidents are: John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Franklin D Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.


About the author

I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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