Trump is in 'excellent health,' White House doctor says after exam

US President Donald Trump waves from the steps of Marine One helicopter upon his departure after his annual physical exam, on Jan 12.
US President Donald Trump waves from the steps of Marine One helicopter upon his departure after his annual physical exam, on Jan 12. PHOTO: REUTERS

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump is in excellent health, his doctor said on Friday (Jan 13) after his first comprehensive physical exam since he was elected.

"The president's physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well," Dr Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy and the White House physician, said in a statement. "The president is in excellent health."

The brief statement did not include any basic information about Trump's health, including his weight, blood pressure or cholesterol levels. The president's doctors did not indicate what tests they performed during the exam or whether Trump, 71, was taking medications.

But the White House has promised that information about those topics will be disclosed on Tuesday (Jan 16), when Jackson joins Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, during a briefing for the news media.

Officials had said it would take a few days for test results to be completed. Trump is spending the three-day holiday weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

It remains unclear whether doctors performed any mental acuity, cognitive or neurological tests during the president's physical exam.

Questions about his mental health intensified this month after the publication of a book in which his closest advisers are said to have questioned his mental abilities. That prompted Trump to insist that he is a "stable genius."

It is also unclear whether Trump had tests common for men of his age, such as a treadmill stress test to detect heart problems.

In December 2015, as a presidential candidate, Trump posted on Twitter that his medical report would "show perfection." About a week later, his personal physician released a four-paragraph letter saying that the candidate was in perfect health.

"If elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," the physician, Dr Harold N. Bornstein of Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, concluded in the letter.

Bornstein wrote that a "complete medical examination" had indicated "only positive results," though it gave few specifics and did not reveal Trump's weight at the time.

Bornstein claimed that his patient's blood pressure and lab results were "astonishingly excellent." In an interview with The New York Times last year, Bornstein revealed that Trump takes a small dose of finasteride, a drug that is marketed as Propecia, to treat male-pattern baldness; the drug lowers levels of prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme made by the prostate. Jackson, the president's current doctor, did not reveal whether Trump is continuing to take that medicine.

Annual medical exams for the president are a tradition that goes back decades.

In 1985, the doctors for President Ronald Reagan detected a cancer during what officials had described as a routine colonoscopy. The president had surgery that weekend and the cancer was removed, along with a section of his intestine. Doctors said at the time that the cancer did not require chemotherapy.

In 1990, doctors for President George Bush detected an early glaucoma in his left eye and prescribed eye drops. More than a decade later, in 2001, doctors for President Bill Clinton, concerned about an increase in his weight and elevated LDL cholesterol levels, started the president on statin drugs to treat those symptoms.

President George W. Bush was diagnosed in 2004 with a "low" to "very low" risk of coronary artery disease. Doctors recommended that Bush, then 58, take aspirin and a statin. In August 2013, when Bush was 67 and after he left office, doctors inserted a stent into one of his coronary arteries.

During checkups for President Barack Obama, his doctors expressed concern about the difficulty Obama had quitting smoking. But they never disclosed how often Obama smoked, making it impossible to calculate what doctors call pack-years, a measure of the risk of developing cancers from smoking.