Trump’s First Full Presidential Physical Exam, Explained

The results of President Trump’s first full physical exam were released in a press conference Tuesday — and according to the top White House doctor, Trump is in “excellent” physical and cognitive health.

Not only did Trump reportedly get good scores on a battery of physical tests, he also earned a 30/30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a common dementia screening exam though not necessarily the best way to assess cognitive decline, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

This year’s presidential physical attracted an unusual degree of scrutiny amid questions about Trump’s mental health and fitness for office.

Concern about the president’s mental capacity escalated with the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. It paints a portrait of an individual who is not of sound mind, surrounded by people who believe he is not really fit to be president. Some Democratic members of Congress even reignited the discussion about the 25th Amendment, a process that could remove a president who is unfit to govern.

Aside from confirming the president’s mental fitness for office, Jackson’s report didn’t really reveal anything new about the president’s health.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise: The presidential physical exam is best understood as political theater — a show of the president’s vigor and fitness — not an opportunity to uncover medical truths.

What Trump’s physical exam involved

Trump’s Friday physical took place at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and was conducted by Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician.

A rear admiral in the US Navy, Jackson was deployed in Iraq until he was selected to be the White House physician in 2006. He’s since served in three administrations: that of George W. Bush, Obama, and now Trump. (Presidents can have their pick of White House physician, but as Stat reported, they tend to favor military doctors.)

The physical exam Jackson gave Trump was likely a lot like any physical a man Trump’s age would get: basic lab tests (cholesterol, hormone, and vitamin level tests), screening tests for age-related disease (such as cancer or heart disease), and the standard slew of other health assessments like checking blood pressure, and the eyes, ears, and throat.

The physical doesn’t typically include an evaluation of mental fitness — and the White House previously told reporters that the biggest question about the 71-year-old president’s health — the state of his mind — would not be checked in the physical.

But this year Trump asked for one, according to Jackson.

What we already knew about Trump’s physical health and habits

As with his tax records, candidate Trump never released his medical records. So what we knew about Trump’s health, until today’s physical results were announced, was mostly gleaned from media reports, and dubious notes from his colorful longtime doctor, Harold Bornstein.

Jackson reported that Trump is in “excellent” overall health. He has excellent cardiac health, according to a cardiac assessment he underwent, and his blood pressure is 122/74, which is in the normal range. Trump’s PSA is very low, meaning he has no prostate troubles. His total cholesterol is 223, and his LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol is 143, which is borderline high. Trump’s 20/30 vision is very good for his age.

His biggest health fault was his weight, Jackson said. Trump is 6 foot 3 and 239 pounds — one pound shy of obesity, according to the body mass index. (His weight is also three pounds higher than last reported in September 2016, according to a note from Trump’s colorful longtime doctor, Harold Bornstein.)

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Source : https://www.vox.com/2018/1/11/16863254/trump-physical-exam-mental-health

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