Trump gets first med­i­cal checkup since be­com­ing president

The Western Star - - WORLD -

President Don­ald Trump re­ceived his first med­i­cal checkup as president at Wal­ter Reed mil­i­tary hospi­tal on Fri­day, un­der­go­ing a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion amid sug­ges­tions in a re­cent book and by his de­trac­tors that he’s men­tally un­fit.

Trump boarded Ma­rine One at the med­i­cal fa­cil­ity in Bethesda, Mary­land, out­side Washington, Fri­day af­ter­noon af­ter about three hours at the hospi­tal. Trump shook hands with his physi­cian, Dr. Ronny Jack­son, and then waved be­fore board­ing his he­li­copter. Later in the day, the president was trav­el­ling to Florida for the week­end.

The fairly rou­tine exam for pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents has taken on out­sized im­por­tance in the age of Trump, given the tone of some of his tweets, com­ments at­trib­uted to some of his close ad­vis­ers and Trump’s re­cent slur­ring of words on na­tional TV.

Some of the com­ments were pub­lished in a new book about Trump’s first year, “Fire and Fury: In­side the Trump White House’’ by Michael Wolff, which White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders has de­nounced as “com­plete fan­tasy’’ for por­tray­ing her 71-year-old boss as undis­ci­plined and in over his head as president.

Trump him­self has pushed back hard against any sug­ges­tion that he’s men­tally un­fit, declar­ing him­self “a very sta­ble ge­nius.’’

The ex­am­i­na­tion lasted sev­eral hours and mea­sured things like Trump’s blood pres­sure, choles­terol, blood sugar, heart rate and weight.

The White House said Jack­son, Trump’s physi­cian, was ex­pected to re­lease a brief state­ment on Fri­day af­ter the exam and then pro­vide a de­tailed read­out of the exam on Tues­day and an­swer ques­tions from re­porters.

But con­clu­sions about Trump’s men­tal acu­ity aren’t ex­pected. The White House said Trump will not un­dergo a psy­chi­atric exam. Of­fi­cials did not ad­dress a dif­fer­ent type of screen­ing: as­sess­ments of cog­ni­tive sta­tus that ex­am­ine neu­ro­logic func­tions in­clud­ing mem­ory. Cog­ni­tive as­sess­ments aren’t rou­tine in stan­dard phys­i­cals, though they re­cently be­came cov­ered in Medi­care’s an­nual well­ness vis­its for seniors.

While the ex­ams are not manda­tory, mod­ern pres­i­dents typ­i­cally un­dergo them reg­u­larly and re­lease a doc­tor’s re­port declar­ing they are “fit for duty.’’

Two months be­fore the Novem­ber 2016 elec­tion, Trump re­leased a fivepara­graph let­ter from his long­time physi­cian, Dr. Harold Born­stein, who con­cluded that Trump “is in ex­cel­lent phys­i­cal health.’’ A year ear­lier, Born­stein said in a De­cem­ber 2015 let­ter: “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state un­equiv­o­cally, will be the health­i­est in­di­vid­ual ever elected to the pres­i­dency.’’

The 2016 let­ter put Trump’s blood pres­sure and choles­terol mea­sure­ments in the healthy range, though he uses a choles­terol-low­er­ing statin med­i­ca­tion. His EKG, chest X-ray, echocar­dio­gram and blood sugar were nor­mal.

The 6- foot- 3 Trump weighed 236 pounds (107 kilo­grams), and his body mass in­dex, or BMI, of 29.5 put him in the cat­e­gory of be­ing over­weight for his height.

Trump takes Crestor for his choles­terol, a low- dose as­pirin for heart at­tack pre­ven­tion, Prope­cia to treat male- pat­tern bald­ness and an­tibi­otics for rosacea. The doc­tor’s 2016 let­ter stated that Trump’s testos­terone level, 441.6, was in the nor­mal range, as were his PSA read­ing for prostate ab­nor­mal­i­ties and tests of his liver and thy­roid.

Trump was 70 when he took of­fice on Jan. 20, 2017, mak­ing him the old­est per­son ever elected to the na­tion’s high­est of­fice.

How much of Trump’s health in­for­ma­tion is re­leased to the public is up to the president, but San­ders said she ex­pects the White House to re­lease the same kind of de­tails past pres­i­dents have made public.

President Barack Obama’s three med­i­cal re­ports in­cluded sec­tions on vi­tal statis­tics; phys­i­cal exam by sys­tem, such as eyes, pul­monary and gas­troin­testi­nal; lab re­sults; his past med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal his­tory; his so­cial his­tory; and med­i­ca­tions, among others.

Trump has said he gets most of his ex­er­cise play­ing golf. The Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion has said the best types of ex­er­cise in­crease the heart rate and make a per­son breathe heav­ily, but that ac­tiv­i­ties like golf don’t pro­vide as much car­dio­vas­cu­lar ben­e­fit since they don’t re­quire much ex­tra ef­fort. The as­so­ci­a­tion sug­gests play­ers walk the golf course in­stead of rent­ing a golf cart. Trump drives a cart from hole to hole.

Obama played bas­ket­ball, lifted weights, worked out on an el­lip­ti­cal ma­chine or tread­mill and played golf. Ge­orge W. Bush traded run­ning for moun­tain bik­ing to pre­serve his knees. Bill Clin­ton was a run­ner who in­stalled a jog­ging track at the White House. He also played golf and in­dulged in Big Macs.

Trump likes fast food, too, along with well-done steaks, cho­co­late cake and dou­ble scoops of vanilla ice cream. He re­port­edly downs 12 Diet Cokes a day. In their re­cent book, “Let Trump Be Trump,’’ for­mer top cam­paign aides Corey Le­wandowski and David Bossie de­scribed the four ma­jor food groups on Trump’s cam­paign plane as “McDon­ald’s, Ken­tucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke.’’

Jack­son is a Navy rear ad­mi­ral who was the emer­gency medicine doc­tor for a shock trauma pla­toon in Taqad­dum, Iraq, dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom, ac­cord­ing to his Navy bio. He also pro­vided care for Obama and be­came a White House physi­cian in 2006.

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