Biden’s doctor says he’s fit for office after annual physical

U.S.

(THE HILL) — President Biden’s physician on Friday determined he was healthy and fit to execute the duties of the presidency following his annual physical the day before his 79th birthday.

Biden visited Walter Reed Medical Center for a colonoscopy and a routine check-up. Kevin O’Connor, physician to the president, broadly determined Biden to be in good health, but noted that the president was clearing his throat more frequently and walking with a stiffer gait.

“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief,” O’Connor wrote in a six-page summary of Biden’s physical.

O’Connor highlighted two areas that he said warranted further investigation — specifically Biden’s recent “throat clearing” and what he described as a stiffened gait. 

“The President’s gait appears to be perceptibly stiffer and less fluid than it has been in the past. He does specifically acknowledge early morning stiffness that improves throughout the day,” the doctor said.

O’Connor noted Biden’s broken foot, which he suffered roughly a year ago, could contribute to the awkward walk, but he more broadly assessed Biden was dealing with spinal arthritis and “peripheral neuropathy,” meaning some loss of sensation in the feet.

O’Connor also wrote that Biden is experiencing “throat clearing” with “increasing frequency and severity” and said that he attributed it to a digestive disorder known as gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD. 

“President Biden experiences occasional symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, primarily having to clear his throat more often. This may also contribute to occasional cough and sinus congestion. His symptoms are typically exacerbated shortly after meals,” he wrote. 

Biden underwent a colonoscopy on Friday morning, during which doctors removed a benign polyp but otherwise found no cause for concern. Biden transferred power to Vice President Harris for 85 minutes while under anesthesia for the procedure, just as then-President George W. Bush did when he got a colonoscopy in 2002 and 2007.

Biden weighed 184 pounds, putting him at a Body Mass Index of 25.0, which is just on the edge of the overweight category. His blood pressure was 120/70.

The president takes five medications, O’Connor wrote, including Crestor to address high cholesterol; Dymista nasal spray for allergies; Allegra for allergies; Eliquis as a blood thinner; and Pepcid to treat GERD.

Biden last released results of a medical assessment in December 2019 during the presidential campaign. He fractured his foot in November 2020 while playing with his dog, but he has not had any health incidents while in the White House.

At 78, Biden was the oldest person ever to be sworn in as president at his inauguration in January. His age, occasional verbal stumbles and his stiffened movements have contributed to rumor mongering on the right about whether he is physically and mentally fit for office.

“There are certainly quite a bit of conspiracy theory pushing out there on a range of social media platforms and even through the mouths of elected officials. So that could certainly be a root cause,” Psaki said Friday when asked about concerns among voters about Biden’s fitness.

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