How healthy are the US presidential candidates?

How healthy are the US presidential candidates?
By Stefan Grobe
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Hillary Clinton’s health emerged as a major campaign issue, after she almost collapsed at a 9/11 commemoration in New York. What has long been the playing field of Clinton conspiracy theories now seems to be a legitimate concern.

After being silent for a day, Donald Trump (70) wished his 68-year old opponent well – not without implying that she is unfit to serve as US president.

Yet, Trump was less gleeful than one could have expected. The reason may be that Trump, by going after Clinton on her health, might be venturing on thin ice.

Fact is that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton has released detailed health records, but Clinton’s disclosure was more informative than Trump’s.

Following the New York incident, Clinton’s campaign announced on Monday that they would be releasing more medical information soon.

Just hours before, Trump said on Twitter that he had a physical last week and that he “will release the results this week”.

So both candidates feel the need to be more open about their state of health in order to try to put all kinds of conspiracy theories and innuendos to rest.

Coincidentally, Trump will appear on the Dr. Oz show this Thursday to discuss his “own personal health regimen.” According to entertainment magazine Variety, “Dr. Oz also will ask Trump why the health of the candidates has become such a serious issue in this campaign.”

What we know about Hillary Clinton’s health

In July of last year, at the beginning of the election campaign, Clinton’s campaign released a two-page letter from her personal physician attesting to her good health and fitness to serve as president of the United States.

Based on a full medical evaluation, Dr. Lisa Bardack of Mount Kisco, New York, described Clinton in summary as a healthy female with hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies.

Clinton “participates in a healthy lifestyle and has had a full medical evaluation which reveals no evidence of additional medical issues or cardiovascular disease. Her cancer screening evaluations are all negative”, wrote Bardack who has Clinton as a patient since 2001.

According to Bardack, Clinton’s past medical history is notable for a deep vein thrombosis in 1998 and in 2009, an elbow fracture in 2009 and a concussion in 2012.

That concussion was due to a stomach virus after traveling. Clinton “became dehydrated, fainted and sustained a concussion”, Bardack wrote. “During follow up evaluations, Mrs. Clinton was found to have a transverse sinus venous thrombosis and began anticoagulation therapy to dissolve the clot.”

As another result of the concussion, Clinton suffered double vision for about two months during which she wore special glasses. Follow-up testing in 2013 revealed “complete resolution of the effects of the concussion as well as total dissolution of the thrombosis”, Bardack testified.

And Bardack to conclude: Clinton “does not smoke and drinks alcohol occasionally. She does not use illicit drugs or tobacco products. She eats a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables and fruits. She exercises regularly, including yoga, swimming, walking and weight training.”

What we know about Donald Trump’s health

Compared to the letter of Clinton’s physician, the one of Trump’s doctor was much less detailed. In fact, the letter written last December by Jacob Bornstein of New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital only contained four paragraphs.

Bornstein, who is Trump’s personal physician since 1980, described his patient briefly as having had “no significant medical problems”. A complete medical examination showed “only positive results”, Bornstein wrote.

“Actually, his blood pressure, 110/65, and laboratory test results were astonishingly excellent”, Bornstein continued.


In his last paragraph, Bornstein concluded that Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”. This statement was widely criticized by peers as unprofessional and ridiculed by comedians on late-night TV.

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