He eats fast food, he’s overweight and he loathes exercise, but President Trump is healthy as an ox.
That was Tuesday’s assessment by White House physician Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson after an extensive examination of the president that included an unprecedented test of his mental abilities, performed at Mr. Trump’s request to put to rest questions of his fitness for office.
Dr. Jackson’s four-hour evaluation of the 71-year-old president last Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center found that his cholesterol is reasonably good but could be lowered with more medication, and that he should lose some weight from his 239-pound, 6-foot-2 frame.
“The president’s overall health is excellent,” Dr. Jackson told reporters at the White House. “His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good.”
The president is known for a weakness for McDonald’s and KFC, and his only exercise is a round of golf. But he also has never consumed alcohol and never smoked tobacco.
“He continues to enjoy the significant long-term cardiac and overall health benefits that come from a lifetime of abstinence from tobacco and alcohol,” the doctor said.
Dr. Jackson revealed that the president himself asked for an assessment of his cognitive abilities, which is not typically conducted during a presidential physical exam. Mr. Trump has been under fire from Democrats and commentators who assert that he is mentally unfit for office, and from psychiatrists who deem him a danger to the public without ever having examined him.
Mr. Trump scored 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a screening test for cognitive impairment and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
“The president did exceedingly well on it,” Dr. Jackson said. “The president is very sharp. He is fit for duty. I found no reason whatsoever to think that the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process.”
The doctor, whose office is in the White House and who talks with the president frequently, said he conducted the cognitive test only because Mr. Trump wanted to put the speculation about him to rest.
“I didn’t feel it was clinically indicated,” Dr. Jackson said. “I’ve seen him every day. We have conversations about many things. I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability.”
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted sarcastically later Tuesday, “Now can we test the media for #TrumpDerangementSyndrome?”
The White House made Dr. Jackson available to answers reporters’ questions about Mr. Trump’s health for an hour, an unprecedented display of access and exposure of patient privacy for a matter that previous White Houses have dispensed with in a brief statement. It also illustrated the White House’s level of concern over the rumors about Mr. Trump.
The doctor said Mr. Trump essentially ordered him not to leave the White House podium until there were no more questions.
“He specifically told me, ‘I want you to answer every single question they have,'” Dr. Jackson said.
The president’s blood pressure was 122/74, his resting heart rate was 68. His “bad” cholesterol or LDL is 143; a score of below 100 is recommended. His ratio of overall cholesterol-to-good-cholesterol is 3.3; anything lower than 3.5 is considered good. His fasting blood glucose level was 89.
Mr. Trump takes 10 mg daily of the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor, and the doctor said he intends to increase that dosage. The president takes an 81 mg aspirin daily for cardiac health, 1 mg of Propecia daily for prevention of male-pattern hair loss, a cream as needed for rosacea and a multivitamin each day.
Like most doctors and patients, they had the conversation about losing weight and eating better.
“I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is to lose 10 to 15 pounds,” Dr. Jackson said. “We talked about diet and exercise a lot. He’s more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we’re going to do both.”
To reporters who seemed perplexed that a relatively older president with a bad diet could be in such good shape, Dr. Jackson said, “It is called genetics. I don’t know. Some people have great genes.”
The doctor said the president “doesn’t sleep much” — an estimated four or five hours per night.
“He’s just one of those people who does not require a lot of sleep,” he said.
Dr. Jackson also said Mr. Trump’s level of stress seems to be under control, despite his frequent angry tweet-storms and being known to lose his temper behind closed doors.
“I’ve never seen the president stressed out about too much,” Dr. Jackson said. “He has a very unique ability to just get up in the morning and just reset. He just gets up and starts a new day.”
There is one delicate potential medical issue on the horizon. The doctor is recommending that the president undergo a colonoscopy with sedation at his next exam in one year, which could necessitate the invoking of constitutional powers to place Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the government for a few hours.
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