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Chief cardiologist at Miami Jackson North speaks with The Herald about heart disease and how it might relate to Gators coach Urban Meyer

Dr. Ariel Soffer of Miami Jackson North Medical Center joined Gator Clause on Tuesday to answer questions about heart disease and how it might relate to Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer. Jackson North's chief cardiologist, Soffer is also an assistant clinical professor of FIU's School of Medicine. He's also a sports fan. Soffer was the Florida Panthers' official cardiologist for four years but no longer travels with the team because he "couldn't handle the losing anymore."

 

Sounds vaguely familiar. Florida coach Urban Meyer does not react very well to losing. After Florida's first loss in 23 games, Meyer resigned as head coach of the Gators only to return one day later. Is he simply burned out or is it something more severe? Meyer has declined to go into detail about his apparent medical condition. On Tuesday, Gator Clause gave the good folks at Miami Jackson North Medical Center a buzz to see if we could get some answers about what exactly might be wrong with Meyer. The most likely culprit? Heart disease.

GATOR CLAUSE:
How does stress affect heart disease?
DR. SOFFER:
It has been clearly shown in the literature in multiple different peer-reviewed publications that stress in and of itself can be an independent risk factor along with the more commonly known ones such as smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and family history. But stress in and of itself is being really evaluated and considered by most of us in the cardiologic community to be a risk factor along with them.

 

The problem with that is cholesterol is very nice because and you have a number and your number is either high or low. It’s a very simple matter to diagnose and to quantify. Stress is really something that is how a person perceives a particular situation. Unfortunately, one person can take one situation and it can be stressful to them and another person can take that same situation and it can be non-stressful. Unlike cholesterol or weight or sugar levels, it is not as quantifiable yet to be able to predict who’s having a certain amount of stress and how they might be affected by it. The long story short, stress is considered an independent risk factor. Quantifying the type of stress and how it affects a person has been pretty illusive to most of us. That being said, I have in my practice a clinical psychologist that often sees patients that I think have stress worsening their heart conditions and that’s shown to be very helpful across the country to a variety of cardiologists.

 

GATOR CLAUSE: Is 45 young to have heart problems that are related to stress or does age not matter?
DR. SOFFER:
It’s pretty much not young anymore. We’re seeing in our society because of other risk factors—mostly cholesterol and weight-related issues—we’re seeing heart disease younger and younger. So, 45 used to be considered young for heart disease but I can tell you in my clinical practice we’re seeing it in folks in their 20s that come in when we really didn’t see it as much in the previous decade. I don’t know enough about his medical history to comment on his other risk factors—his family history, whether or not he smokes or has high cholesterol or diabetes—but certainly Urban has self proclaimed that he’s under a lot of stress.

 

We saw what happened to President Clinton, a person that had multiple risk factors, including probably a high fat diet and certainly under a lot of stress and ultimately ended up with a bypass at also a fairly young age. People under stress that particularly have other risk factors tend to compound it. That’s the big question with Urban. Does he have other risk factors? If it’s stress alone, I would say 45 is pretty young to have developed a form of heart disease. If it’s stress with other risk factors we find that it’s generally compounding, where one plus one doesn’t equal two but one plus one, say if you’re smoking and possibly high cholesterol and you have a high-stress situation, you are many more times more likely to have developed heart disease than you would be with any of those risk factors removed. It wouldn’t just be one-third less. It would be much, much less.

 

GATOR CLAUSE: How does stress manifest itself physically in the human body as it relates to the heart?
DR. SOFFER: Stress releases hormones and the hormones have a very interesting affect on blood vessels. They tend to tighten the blood vessels when they maybe don’t need to be tightened. In particular, we find that that tightening of blood vessels and the hormonal changes that it does within the entire circulation can bring out heart disease more quickly than if those stress hormones that are elicited, the fight or flight response if you will, that we’re normally suppose to have. If that happens too frequently, those stress hormones can cause circulation problems. Generally, for lack of a better term or for the lay public, a premature both hardening of the arteries as well as during a period where we have these plaques in hardened arteries and they’re more likely to rupture in stressful situations.

 

GATOR CLAUSE: Urban has also lost a considerable amount of weight. Can this be related to heart disease or perhaps something else?
DR. SOFFER: The times that you worry about it is when it’s not planned weight loss. That can be a manifestation of other underlying disease — oftentimes chronic diseases or cancer. If it’s weight loss because of diet and exercise, it’s generally good for the heart. If you’re losing weight because you have an underlying pathology or possibly a mental issue, such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder or anorexia — the list goes on — it’s not good.

 

GATOR CLAUSE: The ultimate question is can this be fatal? He's not walking away from a job that pays $4 million a year for nothing.

DR. SOFFER: If it’s heart disease in general, almost every type of heart disease can be fatal. The old saying serious as a heart attack prevails here. If it’s anything to do with the heart and he’s not responding to stress appropriately it can be fatal. It only takes one arrhythmia to kill a person. So, if he’s got any form of heat disease, stress can be very problematic.

 

GATOR CLAUSE: How do you treat heart disease?
DR. SOFFER: We understand the heart pretty well and we can fix most of what’s there. If you look at Phil Jackson, for instances, Phil Jackson had a closing of one of his arteries during a playoff game, had it opened with a balloon and a stent in the 90s and went back, I believe, to the next game two days later. We can fix a lot of these plumbing and mechanical related issues. What takes a long time to do is to teach a person to deal with stress in a better more healthful way.

 

GATOR CLAUSE: Please explain.
DR. SOFFER: It’s sort of like, you know, there are two ways of reacting to a pterodactyl flying at you. One is to become extremely concerned about it and frozen, if you will, and the other to sort of say, ‘OK, it’s a pterodactyl and I’m used to it flying towards me and I’m simply going to, you know, and dip into my little hole right here until it flies away and not allow the hormones that are released to really wreck havoc on my circulatory system.


-jo-

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OUTSTANDING work Joseph Goodman. Problem is we don't know the specifics of Meyer's ailment(s). So It's difficult to apply the above information to the situation at hand. Stress? Anachroid cyst? Heart issue? All of the above?

Although it puts UF football in an awkward position, I respect his right to medical privacy. I just hope when it's alk over we get the whole story.

This is a great post for you to resume your despicable parody of Meyers health issues Sarasota SCUMBAG

His arachnoid cyst is not the issue.

It is probably extreme anxiety.

Coach doesn't smoke or someone would have caught him doing it. His dad is still alive so his dad didnt die of a heart attack.

Maybe he has heart valve issues.

He probably was just really anxious, developed chest pains, and got even more anxious. If his heart checked out ok, like everyone said it did, then it probably is anxiety.

Jacory had some pretty sweet hair last night. Too bad he spends more time fixing up his hair then preparing for games.

Sign Randy Shannon to a long term deal NOW!!!!

P.S. arent those Orlando winters brutal?

Didn't they look like a bunch of sissies last night in the cold. They were shakin like strippers on that sideline.

Urban Meyer and Jeremy Foley both said that it is not a heart-valve issue. It is certainly something more serious than anxiety attacks. You don't walk away from $4 million a year because of anxiety attacks. The man has a serious medical problem.

-jo-

Jo,

His heart has checked out fine though. He has checked into the hospital on multiple occasions with chest pains and I am sure causes anxiety in and of itself. He seems to keep thinking it is his heart; however, his heart checks out fine. This makes me suspicious he has having even more enxiety over his chest pains (i.e. he doesnt know what are normal symptoms and overreacts to normal symptoms which makes things even worse). Interview an anxiety expert, someone that deals with people with and treats people with anxiety and you will see.

Jacorys hair was tight. Too bad his QB play wasnt.

Hey Kehoe thanks for dedicating the entire blog to me today!

Now let me get this straight, Meyer has a bad heart, but he can coach the Sugar Bowl???

Meyer was stressed out by a one loss season, but coming back for a 4-6 loss season is not going to aggravate his situation further?

UM loses a bowl game, and now UF's problems are all solved????

UM loses a bowl game, and somehow losing Strong is OK, losing Meyer never happened, promoting Addazzio is going to solve all of UF's issues???

You're all so delusional! Last night was a disapointment, not the trainwreck that UF faces over the next several years. Your blog monitor Jo wrote a column on who he thinks will be the front-runner for state domination next season, and it was UM!

Kehoe go read all your posts today, you're insane! The "evil laugh", your erratic ramblings, your delusional subject matter all spell trouble for UF in the coming months.

What are you going to say when 5 star (#1 overall) recruit Powell picks USC or UM over UF?? Lord knows I'll be here to report it!

You brought US to the Gator Blogs, and now you're upset because we are rubbing your nose in UF's shyt??? Grow a pair boy's, I'm a fixture here for as long as the circus is in town!!!

Go 'canes!

gators, gators, gators. when i'm not playing video games and talking 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' with sarasota 'cane, i'm talking about the gators. i blame others for my neurotic behavior..because that's what i do. gators, gators, gators. the only circus is the one in my hand. gators, gators, gators.

Sarasota'cane talking smack after a slow Big 10 team beat up your sorry Hurricanes?

Show up to the ACC title game before you talk.

Maybe you could help Jacory out with his hair so he can spend time working on his lob pass and figuring out what colors his team wears.

Maybe you can help Randy Shannon figure out how to DEVELOP players instead of regressing.

Maybe you can help Jacory with his fragile body--hit a squat rack one time.

Maybe you can help Randy Shannon bring in another 3 star recruit.

Maybe you can help Donna Shalala bring a dome to landshark stadium since the canes cant play in the rain or cold.

dah U home of the 3 star recruit!!!

This game will help Miami recruiting more than you'll ever know.

BAWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA

Hey Chaz -- when they land the 5 star guy it will bring the average stars up to 3.000001 for this recruiting class. Poor Sarasota 'Cane, all dressed up in his 'Cane regalia and no place to go.

Your already in here running your smack Sarasota SCUMBAG? Shouldn't u be licking your considerable wounds and shaving stuff on the side of your nappy and empty head?

Funny that you think that every commenter that drills your dumb assss is me. Lol. It's okay. Gator nation smacks you, canesrule, and schlitz around like step children daily. If you want to attribute all the beatings to me go ahead. I proudly take responsibility for all the thrashings and guttings u endure. But you're still ignorant and you're still a SCUMBAG.

What you miss in your daily vitriol is that UF has far more depth than those LIGHTWEIGHTS in Miami. Only a delusional canefan like you would ever think of arguing elsewise. Florida is not likely to win a championship next year. But they could very well be in the conversation as even with the mass departures to the league, depth remains. You see, UF actually develops their talent.

UM doesn't have a prayer of contending for a "ship" next year. Go read your own blogs clown. You're entire fanbase is DRILLING your program. That's not a hate hangover clown. It's fans finally accepting the realities of a very mediocre PROGRAM.

YOU are the only person in the blogosphere predicting fire and brimstone for Florida. And that is because your judgements are based on envy and hate. Not objective thinking.

Who cares what you think about Florida anyway. Your just like canesrule, a srarstruck clueless idiot who dwells in the DISTANT past. and your also an odious SCUMBAG.

Gators own your every waking moment.
U GO TO SLEEP THINKING ABOUT THE GATORS AND YOU WAKE UP THINKING ABOUT THE GATORS.

Ha Ha, of course you duck the very reason we come here day in and day out! Your team is in shambles, your coach is picking up his Prozac prescription as we speak, and your recruit's are writing their "Dear Urban" letters, but nothings wrong! It's all UM, al the time!
But why?? Got undefeated??

Great "evil laugh" Chaz, you "D" Bag! What a tool!

P.S. If Meyer flips out like this from one loss, they'll need a straight jacket to cure him next season! What a puss! If the dude was really "hurting" he wouldn't be within 500 miles of New Orleans this week. That Chump has a fear of losing and a uncureable case of "CantGoUnefeateditis"!

P.S.S. Finally a movie about the UF program produced by none other than little Timmy's Mommy! I would say the subject matter describes the state of UF's program to the "T"! Super Bowl Sunday can't get here fast enough! Congrat's!

Go 'canes!

What you miss in your daily vitriol is that UF has far more depth than those LIGHTWEIGHTS in Miami. Only a delusional canefan like you would ever think of arguing elsewise. Florida is not likely to win a championship next year. But they could very well be in the conversation as even with the mass departures to the league, depth remains. You see, UF actually develops their talent.

Posted by: Kehoe dropped a duece from the eighth floor balcony, seventh floor crew was highly impressed and rapped about it | December 30, 2009 at 04:40 PM

Kehoe, have you been in Urban's medicine cabinet again??

What a trainwreck! The entire nation is talking about the bizarre, delusional behavior of your coach and program! No recruit with an internet connection is going to miss the circus that is UF Football! Of course the Chris Rainey's of the world are still coming, but you better believe their price just went up, WAY UP!

If I were you I'd savor the Sugar Bowl like a fine wine because UF's off seasn is going to be the worst you have ever experinced, that's a promise!

The closer you are to your last title the further you are from your next!

Go 'canes!

And just to be "fair" to the UF Legion, Bill Bellichek, Tony Dungy, and Bill Cower combined can't rescue UF from next years fate. UF is good for a MINIMUM of 4 losses next year, if they're lucky!

Riley Cooper was just being honest. So was Jo.

Go 'canes!

Guaranteed Florida will have more wins than UM in 2010.

And it's guaranteed that you will still be a SCUMBAG Sarasota.

Go comiserate with your cane brethren. Oh wait, cane blogs are busy KILLING the program. You can't comprehend any of that.bits alk rosey in Miami with you and canesrule and Schlitz. Your other 500 fans are dismantling your program.

I don't see Gator nation panicking. Cane fans are digging friggin bunkers.

Hey Sarasota,

How is the OL and DL panning out for you. Losing to a bunch of slow white dudes has to kill you.
You think Lamar Miller can play OT????
Jacory needs to toughen up or he wont last a game next year.

Jo,

Anxiety attacks cause chest pains, that is a fact. His heart has checked out fine according to numerous reports, but the anxiety attacks can cause symptoms that feel like a heart attack, and over time can cause heart disease. He has a anxiety problem, a serious one, and needs to get it fixed. I dont see why you are so sure he has something more serious than that?

Who do you guy's think Powell will sign with in Feb?? If I was a betting man I would say USC, but with all the issues with that program who knows, he might want to go to "THE U"!!

Lord knows he won't be returning UF's calls!

An abortion commercial during the Super Bowl?? Are you kidding me? When will it end???

Go 'canes!

Powells decision won't surprise anyone in Gator Nation regardless of what he does. Cali is a long way and were talking kids. We'd LOVE to have him but I won't be surprised if goes elsewhere. So be it.

REGARDLESS UF will STILL have a top FIVE recruiting class. You understand that Sarasota SCUMBAG??? You cane clucks constantly knock the rating system because you fail miserably within it. The way you're recruits developed in the old days have nothing to do with todays CFB you dumb cane honk. EVERYONE has athletes now you ignorant imbecile. There is a correlation between top programs and top ranked recruiting classes. Your three star parade isn't doing squat.

FACT: As nice as it would be to land Powell, and we all hope UF does, he won't make or break our recruiting class.

ADDITIONAL FACT: you are a SCUMBAG Sarasota. There is a thread about Meyers health over at Gator Bytes. Go spew your filthy vitriol you odious SCUMBAG.

Sooo a Super Bowl commercial means problems for UF????

All you do is throw darts you SCUMBAG. Try for once in your miserable OLD life to string together a cogent argument.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/stewart_mandel/12/30/leach-fired/index.html?eref=sihp

I think this guy would be a great fit for UF! This guy would have no trouble picking fights with frat boy's! That's who U are with a "Flop" and those three "undefeatedless" titles UF has!

P.S. Every team in the state has won the "Kentucky Derby", but of the "Big Three", which teams have won the "Triple Crown"?

Hint: It's not U(F)!

Go 'canes!

Why on earth would you question UF's recruits when UM's recruiting class is a mess? Nice grab with Linder. So what. If he has to step into immediate playing time it shows what a dumpster fire your depth chart is.

You're obsessed with UF's recruiting class. Meanwhile the largest sports reporting agency in the world has UF as the NUMBER ONE CLASS in the country. It would be nice if just once your vitiriol actually made sense. Sure Bama whipped our ass. It hurt. But it was a loss after 22 consecutve wins. It was a terrible disappointment to come up short on the big goal for the season. We did however beat our three big rivals and had an unbeaten regular season. ANY PROGRAM in the nation considers that highly successful. Of course a couple dozen hardcore losers in Miami want to depict the season as a failure. That's your envious M.O. The season was a big success. Sorry jealous loser.

But get off this recruiting buIIshlt youre throwing up. It's nonsense. Floridas recruiting class is still very much intact regardless of your maniacal fantasies. Go away SCUMBAG.

Sooo a Super Bowl commercial means problems for UF????

Posted by: The Curse of Art Kehoe | December 30, 2009 at 05:41 PM

Of course not! But your coach coming completely unglued after a one loss campaign does! I hope the emergency call boxes at the top of the Skyway Bridge are working by the middle of next season, I "smell" a jumper!

(Don't worry though, we all know he won't be back!)

What a Puss!

Go 'canes!

I don't care what that link is and nobody that reads this blog will link to it you strange SCUMBAG.

Look at your pathetic asss bragging about your 80's crap. Get a life loser SCUMBAG

Max,

I just posted this entire blog about how stress can be an independent risk factor for heart disease.

-jo-

Of course not! But your coach coming completely unglued after a one loss campaign does! I hope the emergency call boxes at the top of the Skyway Bridge are working by the middle of next season, I "smell" a jumper!

THIS IS PRECISELY WHY YOU ARE A SCUMBAG. YOU MAKE JOKES ABOUT A SERIOUS MEDICAL SITUATION.

Dude you need to back away from football blogs. Or just keep posting and further entrench yourself as the biggest sCUMBAG in the history of blogs in the state of florida.

Oh poor, poor Kehoe! Waahhhhhhh!!! He can give it out but he can't take it!

Are you going to be a UF fan next year Kehoe? It's OK if you "Waffle" on that one, Lord knows your coaches do!

Go away? I'm just getting started oh "Man of a thousand screen names"!

I own this shyt dump now! (Your words, not mine!)

How about that Soldy, it's like shooting ducks in a barrel!

Go 'canes!

1. What do Gators fans have to look foward to?
2. What program is in better condition going foward?
3. Who has a better chance of contending for a conference or national championship next year?
4. What coaching staff has the most stability?
5. What team has more key players returning?
6. Who has the most to gain from their bowl games?
7. Does a bowl game vs. a coachless (most likely out of the top 25 next year) Cincy really matter?
8. Even if you win that game, what does it do for your program?
9. What is your outlook for next season?
10. Of your games @ Tenn., @ Bama, and @ FSU, how many do you expect to win?

Trust me I'm more educated than you think. The adult conversations begin now.

Go ahead sir, first 10 Q's. Let's see how many you can answer honestly.


Posted by: SHHHHH.... It's Mighty Quiet in G-Ville

.
.

U were saying ?

Sarasota SCUMBAG it's pretty obvious you don't care about the canes. You were whipped beyond description last night and here you are making cracks about Meyers health. I doubt you even care that UM was severely dressed down by a MEDIOCRE PAC 10 CHUMP last night. Keep posting your vitriol loser. Solidify your standing as a SCUMBAG.

Guess you haven't noticed that your ENTIRE fanbase is saying the same thing about the program today that I have said for the last year. Kool-aid is a terrible thing.

Remember dooooshbag, I said you're oline is a JOKE, you're defense is a JOKE, and your head coach is a JOKE. I don't see a single sole saying otherwise . The entire media is ripping the program today. I was right all along.

There's nothing wrong with Meyer that a tampon and a classic "Chick Flick" can't cure!

What a Puss!

There is not a doctor in America that would let Meyer coach if there was anything "really" wrong with him! Give him a Valium and a guitar stand, prop him up at mid-field and let the "Addazio Era" begin!

You haven't seen the bottom yet! (Your words, not mine!)

Go 'canes!

Hola Soldy !

Sarasota SCUMBAG, your boy kkboy80 just ripped UM a new one over at SS. That dude is WAYYYY smarter than you will ever be. FACT.

You're a laughable Shannon apologist. You will be until the day he is FIRED.

Head over to SS SCUMBAG and defend UM's honor.

Remember dooooshbag, I said you're oline is a JOKE, you're defense is a JOKE, and your head coach is a JOKE. I don't see a single sole saying otherwise . The entire media is ripping the program today. I was right all along.

Posted by: The Curse of Art Kehoe | December 30, 2009 at 06:03 PM

At least we HAVE an O-line, a D-line, and a head coach!

"At least I'm a Senior!" - Riley Cooper

"Take two "blue ones" to go to bed, three "red ones" to wake up, and a half of a "green one" whenever you have to address the Booster's or the media. And for God's sake Urb, don't let ANYONE see that "string" hanging out of your thong!" - Meyer's doctor ("Drug Dealer")

You know what Kehoe, I have to admit, this IS really fun!!!!

Go 'canes!

Head over to SS SCUMBAG and defend UM's honor.

Posted by: The Curse of Art Kehoe | December 30, 2009 at 06:10 PM

I would "Key", but the circus is in Gainesville this week!

An abortion commercial produced by Timmy's Mommy during the Super Bowl? I can't wait!

This shyt just writes itself!

Go 'canes!

Hey recruit's watch the uncensored documentary about the UF Football program during this years Super Bowl!

Trust me I'm more educated than you think. The adult conversations begin now.

Go ahead sir, first 10 Q's. Let's see how many you can answer honestly.


Posted by: SHHHHH.... It's Mighty Quiet in G-Ville

.
.

But yet, U haven't the intelligence to admit when Ur wrong ...

When Coach Meyer went to the hospital after the Alabama game, didn't the University report that it was for dehydration?

I'm confused. Did the University have bad information or did they lie to hide the seriousness of the condition?

If they lied about this, what else would they lie about to get their prized recruit(s)?

How can we possibly have a fair national championship tournament when some teams have seven home games and a neutral site game within 150 miles of their campus and other teams have only five or six home games? Doesn't the regular season schedule have to be fair before we can have a reliable post season championship tournament?

Obviously, the university would never lie. I'm sure he was dehydrated.

-jo-

How can we possibly have a fair national championship tournament when some teams have seven home games and a neutral site game within 150 miles of their campus and other teams have only five or six home games? Doesn't the regular season schedule have to be fair before we can have a reliable post season championship tournament?

Posted by: PlayMiamiHomeandHomeYouChickenGators | December 30, 2009 at 07:15 PM


Waaaaaaaaa. We suck......waaaaa....and its all the Gator's fault. waaaaaaaa

I'm confused. Did the University have bad information or did they lie to hide the seriousness of the condition?


Maybe you're confused because you're just a DA?

Answer the questions than tough guy

Cane Fan - Yes it was unfair of me to single out the Gator home schedule. The same is true for most of the programs ranked in last week's article as the top ten "most valuable".

In terms of rank (and fairness), if a team makes a long plane flight for a road game and defeats a ranked team that is not part of their conference (and hence, one they are less familiar with) it should count more than a pedestrian in conference victory.

For the record, yeah, I have lived in Miami all my life and I think the U has done way more for my hometown than UF, FSU or even FIU. That's despite the fact that my taxes support the other institutions. So I root, root, root for the home team, even if that is not where I went to school.

I like college football in general, but I think NCAA rules and policies favor the big money, big State schools enormously.

Here's my question for every college football fan. Wouldn't college football be a whole lot better if the NCAA mandated that no FBS team could have more than six home games? That would encourage the big powerhouse programs to replace the revenue from their boring "sacrificial lamb" games with TV revenue from big home and home series with powers outside their conference.

But that's my take and while I think winning an NC is cool, I am a fan first and would much rather see a season packed with great meaningful games.

Will someone please tell who the Gators play in their out of conference schedule in 2010? Is it as tough as the canes Ohio State Pitt & USF, or once again the Gators don't go further north than Tenn. or further west than Miss. Please for once leave your own backyard and play somebody!

It will be great to watch Florida Panthers, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/Florida_Panthers-tickets looking forward to it.

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