President Donald J. Trump has just finished receiving his first physical since he entered the White House in January 2017, and has been declared in excellent health, though details have not yet been released.
The president, age 71, was examined January 12 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, by the White House physician, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, MD. Dr Jackson has been the chief White House physician since 2013, and conducted two of President Barack Obama’s physicals.
At a press briefing immediately after the physical, Dr Jackson said the exam went very well, according to a statement tweeted by Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary. “The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday,” said Dr Jackson.
The last health information about Trump was released in September 2016 in the form of a five-paragraph letter from his personal physician, Harold Bornstein, MD.
The president was described as 6 feet 3 inches, 236 pounds, with blood pressure of 116/70, a blood sugar level of 99, and lipid readings within the normal range — with an HDL of 63, LDL of 94, and triglycerides of 61. His coronary artery calcium score was 98, which is defined as mild heart disease, but an electrocardiogram and chest x-ray conducted in April 2016 were normal, Dr Bornstein said.
The then-candidate’s PSA score was low. His last colonoscopy, in 2013, found no polyps. The one-page letter stated that Trump’s testosterone level — 441.6 — was in the normal range, as were liver and thyroid function tests.
At the time, Dr Bornstein noted that Trump was taking rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca), a low-dose aspirin for heart attack prevention, finasteride (Propecia, Merck) to treat male-pattern baldness, and antibiotics for rosacea.
Cognitive Health Not Mentioned
It is not clear whether the president’s cognitive health was evaluated by Dr Jackson. The day before the physical, a group of 75 physicians wrote to Dr Jackson, urging him to evaluate Trump’s neurological health, including cognitive and mental health functions, as is called for in Medicare guidelines.
They expressed what they called “increasing concern” over what they said was Trump’s “declining faculties for complex thought, rambling speech, difficulty completing a thought; episodes of slurred speech; failure to recognize old friends; frequent repetition of the same concepts; decreased fine motor coordination; difficulties reading, listening and comprehending; suspect judgment, planning, problem solving, and impulse control; and, markedly declining vocabulary in recent years, with over reliance on superlatives.”
They recommended that the exam include a basic dementia screen.
Trump’s father died at 93, after having developed Alzheimer’s disease in his 80s.
Some clinicians have questioned Trump’s mental state, even as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has repeatedly urged against diagnosis from afar.
The APA recently called clinicians out for making “armchair” diagnoses, and recommended they heed the APA’s Goldwater Rule, which proclaims it unethical to diagnose without examination.
“A proper psychiatric evaluation requires more than a review of television appearances, tweets, and public comments,” said the APA in the statement, adding that diagnosis requires a review of medical and psychiatric history and records, and a complete examination of mental status.
“The Goldwater Rule embodies these concepts and makes it unethical for a psychiatrist to render a professional opinion to the media about a public figure unless the psychiatrist has examined the person and has proper authorization to provide the statement,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD. “APA stands behind this rule.”
The APA said it was confident that Dr Jackson “will follow the standard of care in examining all systems, which includes an age-appropriate medical and mental health evaluation,” and that if any concerns arose he would seek consultation.
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