The White House physician, Kevin O’Connor, has confirmed that 80-year-old US President Joe Biden is in good health and “fit for duty” following his recent physical examination.
Concerns had been raised about his health, particularly in the context of a potential second term, but O’Connor stated that the President is capable of fully performing all of his duties without any special accommodations.
The health exam results were summarized in a statement released on Thursday.
The exam was closely watched as Biden prepares for his expected run for a second term in 2024. The summary said Biden did not have any “long COVID” symptoms and that his stiff gait has not worsened since his last exam in November 2021.
Biden said his physical went well. “Everything really went well … Thank God, for small favours,” he told NBC News.
Biden’s three-hour session with doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, was his second extensive exam since taking office in January 2021.
Biden takes the statin Crestor to keep his cholesterol levels low, an anti-coagulant in response to atrial fibrillation that remains asymptomatic and medication to treat seasonal allergies and acid reflux, the summary said.
Several small skin growths were moved from his face and head using liquid nitrogen and “one small lesion on the president’s chest was excised today and sent for traditional biopsy”, O’Connor said. Results are pending.
The summary found that Biden’s weight had dropped from 83.5kg (184 pounds) in 2021 to 81kg (178 pounds). His body mass index was at 24.1 compared with 25.0 in 2021, and his blood pressure was at 126/78 compared with 120/70 in 2021.
The summary made no mention of whether Biden underwent any cognitive tests sometimes given to people of his age.
O’Connor said Biden’s back stiffness is a result of significant spinal arthritis.
“The president’s gait remains stiff, but has not worsened since last year,” he said.
The oldest person to serve as US president
Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as US president, has dismissed questions about his age, but polls indicate voters have concerns about his ability to serve four more years if he wins in 2024.
Asked about the concerns over Biden’s age, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters: “This is a president that works day in and day out, you know, in a gruelling fashion with a gruelling schedule, and delivers.”
About three-quarters of Americans – including more than half of Democrats and the vast majority of Republicans – say Biden is too old to work in government, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from February 6 to 13.
Most Democratic respondents said the president remains mentally sharp, but about half of them said he cannot handle the physical toll of the presidency.
Biden does not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, and works out five times a week, the physical noted.
Biden would be 86 by the end of a prospective second term, making him 13 years older than the average life expectancy of an American male, according to 2020 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
Biden said during a PBS interview last week that any Americans concerned about his age should “watch me” perform the duties of the presidency.
First Lady Jill Biden, 71, last month had cancerous skin lesions removed.
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