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Romney's doctors say he's 'strong' and 'physically fit'

September 21, 2012|By Maeve Reston
  • Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, center, speaks during a campaign rally in Manassas, Va.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, center, speaks during a… (Associated Press / U.S.…)

Mitt Romney’s physician described the Republican presidential nominee as an “energetic, strong, physically fit” and vigorous man in a letter released Friday offering the first detailed glimpse into the state of his health.

Dr. Randall D. Gaz, who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital and has been Romney’s personal physician since 1989, said the former Massachusetts governor has “no physical impairments that should interfere with his rigorous and demanding political career as the next president of the United States.” 

“He has shown the ability to be engaged in multiple, varied, simultaneous activities requiring complex mental, social, emotional, and leadership skills,” Gaz wrote in the letter released on Romney’s website. “He is a vigorous man who takes excellent care of his personal physical health. He has reserves of strength, energy, and stamina that provide him with the ability to meet unexpected demands.”

The letter outlining Romney’s condition was posted Friday along with one from running mate Paul Ryan’s physician, at the same time that the his team released his long-awaited 2011 tax returns.  A letter from the couple’s tax preparer, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, summarized the tax rates paid by the Romneys over a 20-year period from 1990 to 2009.

Romney’s doctor noted that Romney’s family history had included cardiac arrhythmias, heart attack and prostate cancer and recommended that  Romney continue to have regular examinations to guard against those conditions, including regular lipid blood testing and cardiac evaluation that monitors his heart rhythm. In a recent examination in early August, his cardiac exam showed a regular slow rhythm, his doctor said.  

Gaz noted several medical conditions: hyperlipidemia with stable mild triglyceride elevation at 179 (a mildly elevated level of fat in the blood), minimally symptomatic benign prostatic hypertrophy (a mild enlargement of the prostate) and sinus bradycardia — meaning that his baseline heart rate is lower than average — but without palpitations, chest pain or shortness of breath.

The candidate takes only two medications daily: a low-dose aspirin and 10 mg of Lipitor, a drugs that works to lower cholesterol.

Romney’s resting heart rate was 40, rising to 107 with stress, and his blood pressure was measured at 130/80. In a testament to Romney’s regular exercise routine, Gaz reported that Romney has a “slow, resting, regular heart rate in the 40’s” that is “most likely related to his past intensive exercise with regular running.”

The candidate still makes time for early morning cross-training workouts and used to run three miles each day before cutting back because of a condition known as Plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes (which is common in runners). 

The Romneys enjoy athletic pursuits such as swimming and biking when staying at their vacation home on the shore of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. Romney has put younger aides to shame during waterskiing expeditions on the lake. He also competes with his five sons each year in the now-famed “Romney Olympics,” which includes contests like beach volleyball, log-sawing and hanging from a bar over the lake until their arms give out (the last contestant hanging on to the bar wins).

In quieter moments, Romney joins his wife, Ann, an accomplished equestrian, for trail rides that have helped her cope with her multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan,  was a personal trainer before he entered politics and is a strict adherent of the P90X workout, a blend of muscle confusion and cross-training.

Ryan has said he maintains body fat of 6% to 8% and leads morning P90X workouts on Capitol Hill. 

Ryan’s doctor said that the Wisconsin congressman is in excellent physical health in a separate letter released Friday.

maeve.reston@latimes.com
Twitter: @maevereston

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