‘Healthy, vigorous’ Joe Biden physically fit to serve as president, doctor says | US news


Joe Biden is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male … fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency”, the former vice-president’s doctor said in records released by his campaign on Tuesday.

Biden “does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol at all, and he works out at least five days per week”, Dr Kevin C O’Connor added.

Should he win the White House in 2020, Biden would be the oldest president elected for the first time, surpassing Donald Trump. The current occupant of the Oval Office was 70 at the time of his inauguration in January 2017.

Biden has a healthy lead in national polls of the Democratic presidential field. But Trump, with the nickname “Sleepy Joe”, has led the way in questioning Biden’s fitness for the rigors of an election and occupancy of the most powerful political position on earth.

Biden’s stumbles and stutters on the debate stage and campaign trail have been relentlessly parsed. In return, he has emphasized his fitness by recounting stories of facing down bullies, challenging hecklers and reporters to athletic contests and, at least early in his campaign, offering Trump a physical fight.

Trump’s own health has been the subject of relentless speculation, not least around the release of ebullient descriptions of his health by his personal doctor, Harold Bornstein – later revealed to have been written by Trump himself – and White House physician Ronny Jackson.

After an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland last month, Trump, now 73, addressed and denied speculation he had a heart attack.

O’Connor, director of executive medicine at GW Medical Faculty Associates, was Biden’s doctor when he was vice-president to Barack Obama.

In the three-page summary released on Tuesday, he said the former VP was being treated for “non-valvular atrial fibrillation (A-Fib), hyperlipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux and seasonal allergies”.

He also detailed the surgery Biden underwent in 1988 for a cerebral aneurysm, which revealed another. Both were repaired, the records said, and Biden “has never had any recurrences”.

Biden’s hospitalisation, O’Connor wrote, “was complicated by deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism”. Biden has also had prostate surgery, though he has not had prostate cancer, and had his gall bladder removed in 2003. He has been treated for “various sports medicine and orthopaedic injuries”.

Dr O’Connor also said Biden has had several non-melanoma skin cancers removed, is nearly 6ft, weighs 178lbs, has a blood pressure of 128/84 and a cholesterol reading of 126.

Biden’s closest competitors for the Democratic nomination include the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who is 78 and recently had a heart attack, and the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who is 70.

Earlier this month, Warren released a letter from her doctor which described her as “very healthy”. Sanders has promised to release records by the end of the year.

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