This past week, there has been much discussion over the health of both DonaldTrump and Hillary Clinton. Either candidate—at the time of Inauguration– would be one of the oldest President Elects in the history of the United States.
Trump—now 70 and Clinton—68 and turning 69 soon, have both been questioned about their health status and how it may affect their ability to serve as President. Each campaign has taken a different approach to releasing health information. While Donald Trump has turned to daytime television with Dr Oz to discuss his health, Hillary Clinton attempted to conceal her recent bout with pneumonia. Clinton has released some medical information subsequently in a letter drafted by her physician. It is important to note that NEITHER of the candidates have released an actual medical record so we must interpret what we have with a grain of salt.
Lets break down what we now know—
First Donald Trump:
Based on the records that have been released to date and discussed on the Dr Oz show this past week, it appears that Mr. Trump is relatively healthy for a man of 70 years. He has normal blood pressure and cholesterol (he takes a medication for his cholesterol). He is a non-smoker and a non-drinker. He has a BMI or body mass index of 29.5-which places him in the mildly overweight category. He has a normal PSA (prostate specific antigen) and a normal complete blood count. Mr. Trump has had a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer three years ago and this test was also normal. His heart tests—an Echocardiogram and Electrocardiogram—were both normal as well. He has had an annual physical exam for the last decade and his only surgery was an appendectomy at age 11.
Then Hillary Clinton:
Ms Clinton recently battled pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection. Pneumonia is easily treated in most patients with rest and antibiotics. Adults over age 65 can have more difficulty recovering. While we have few details about Secretary Clinton’s health, a recent letter from her physician seems to summarize what we already know. It appears that all of her cancer screening tests are negative and up to date. Ms Clinton is on a blood thinner called Coumadin due to a DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis in the past. She has had a prior head injury and subsequent transverse sinus thrombosis (blood clot in the brain) as well. She takes medication for hypothyroidism a common problem for people with an underactive thyroid gland. She has also had surgery for a broken elbow after a fall.
What’s The Upshot?
Ultimately, we may never have the actual medical records for either candidate. Based on the information we have available, it does appear that Mr. Trump has fewer medical problems than Ms. Clinton. She has had a history of falls and a prior concussion. Both, however, appear physically able to serve as President. I am certainly troubled by Clinton’s attempt to hide her pneumonia diagnosis– -this feeds into the “lack of transparency” argument. I think that Mr. Trump could have chosen to release his records in a more appropriate venue than a daytime television show—it just wasn’t very presidential.
As a physician, I would prefer that each candidate be a bit more forthcoming with their medical records and allow for an independent review of their health status—although I expect this will not happen anytime soon.
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Dr Kevin Campbell, MD, FACC is chief medical correspondent for Bold.global. Dr. Campbell is an internationally recognized Cardiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Dr. Campbell is the Medical Expert for WNCN and appears weekly on the CBS morning news and also makes frequent appearances nationally on Fox News, CBS, and HLN.