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Former first lady Barbara Bush rings in the new year from her hospital bed

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Former first lady Barbara Bush, 88, rang in the New Year from her bed at Houston Methodist Hospital after being admitted Monday for a “respiratory-related” illness. Her husband hospitalized at the same facility for bronchitis in 2012.

Although she and her husband, President George H.W. Bush, 89, have continued to make public appearances, both have been in poor health the past few years.

Mrs Bush underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer in 2008, followed by heart surgery in March 2009 to correct a severe narrowing of the aorta. She was later readmitted to the hospital after suffering a (mild) relapse of Graves Disease in 2010.

Graves is an autoimmune disease that generally causes the thyroid, to enlarge to twice its size or and become overactive, with causing increased heartbeat, muscle weakness, disturbed sleep, and irritability. It can also cause bulging eyes (as seen in Mrs Bush), as well as affect the skin, heart, circulation and nervous system. She was first diagnosed with the disease in 1989.

Despite her present condition, her family and medical personnel stated that she is “in great spirits,” and both former President Bill Clinton and the Obamas have sent their best wishes and prayers for a speedy recover to her.

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