CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta disputed the health report put forward by White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson on Tuesday, saying President Donald Trump has "heart disease."
CNN's "New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota put up a graphic of Trump's coronary calcium scores dating back to 2009 and asked Gupta about the "troubling signs" he saw in Trump's numbers. The chart showed his calcium score went from 34 in 2009 to 133 in 2018. According to the Mayo Clinic, a score of 100 or higher means an individual has a high risk of heart attack or heart disease within three to five years.
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"What do you make of these findings?" Camerota asked.
Gupta, who formerly served as an adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton during a White House fellowship, said Trump's calcium scores are "concerning." He said calcium scores are often used by cardiologists to try and be predictive and prevent future chances of a heart attack.
"It is concerning because you can start to say well, if you do nothing different, if things don't change, you can start to predict the likelihood of having some sort of heart event–cardiac event, a heart attack, or something like that–within a certain number of years, and you see the trajectory of President Trump's numbers," Gupta said.
He then cited Jackson, saying he believed the White House physician alluded to the calcium score increasing because of Trump's diet and lack of exercise.
"They have continued to go up despite the fact that he's been on medications," Gupta said. "So the president has heart disease. Those numbers qualify him for having heart disease, and he clearly needs a plan to try and prevent some sort of heart problem down the road."
According to the guidelines CNN shared from the Mayo Clinic, a coronary calcium score of over 100 puts an individual "at high risk" of heart attack or heart disease, but does not indicate a person already has either condition.
Jackson did report on Tuesday he has recommended the president lose some weight, and that he will be working with the president to implement an exercise regimine and ensure he's eating a healthy diet. He further reported Trump's "overall health is excellent" and that the president preformed "exceedingly well" on a cognitive function screening assessment, which the president asked be conducted.
Jackson, a Navy rear admiral, was first selected as a White House physician in 2006 and has since served in the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Trump. He was selected to be the physician to the president by Obama in 2013.
This year's exam was widely scrutinized by media and Trump critics after they frequently questioned his fitness for office. CNN and MSNBC have speculated about Trump's health for months, often discussing his reported Diet Coke habit and questioning his mental state.