Doctor’s report calls 77-year-old Biden ‘healthy, vigorous’

Lauran Neergard AND Alexandra Jaffe
Associated Press

Washington – Joe Biden is “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency,” according to a doctor’s report released Tuesday by the 77-year-old former vice president.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, who has been Biden’s primary care physician since 2009, writes in a three-page note that the Democratic presidential candidate is in overall good shape – he’s trim, exercises and keeps his cholesterol at healthy levels with the use of a statin medication.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of seven scheduled Democratic candidates participating in a public education forum, makes opening remarks, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

Since 2003, Biden has had what’s called atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that’s potentially serious but treatable. O’Connor cited a list of tests that show the candidate’s heart is functioning normally and his only needed care is a blood thinner to prevent the most worrisome risk, blood clots or stroke.

Another Democratic candidate, Michael Bloomberg, has the same kind of irregular heartbeat, according to records released last week.

Biden had a brush with death in 1988, requiring surgery to repair two brain aneurysms – weak bulges in arteries, one of them leaking. Biden has never had a recurrence, his doctor said, citing a specific test in 2014 that examined his arteries.

O’Connor’s letter cited only a few other minor ailments. Biden takes medications, as needed, for seasonal allergies and occasional reflux, or heartburn. He has had several small, non-melanoma skin cancers removed over the years. Preventive screenings, including colonoscopies, show no signs of trouble.

Biden is the third Democratic presidential candidate to release his medical records. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70, released a doctor’s note earlier this month that said she is in “excellent health.” A letter from Bloomberg’s physician said the 77-year-old New York billionaire was in “outstanding health.”

Bernie Sanders, the oldest candidate in the field at 78 years old, said that he’d release his records “probably by the end of the year.” He suffered a heart attack in October that took him off the campaign trail for a few days.

Biden, Sanders and Bloomberg would be the oldest president in history if elected.

Republican Donald Trump, now 73, was the oldest newly inaugurated first-term president. He has been criticized for releasing only cursory details on his health while running for the White House. But he has also mocked Biden’s verbal missteps, suggesting age has slowed his potential Democratic rival.

Warren, Sanders and Biden have showcased their physical activity during the campaign, with Warren frequently jogging to the podium at events, Sanders playing softball with staff and Biden recently challenging a voter who criticized him as “too old” to a push-up contest.

A Pew Research Center poll from May found that about half of Democrats said it would be best for a president to be in their 50s. A quarter said it would be best for a president to be in their 40s, and 16% preferred a president in their 60s. Just 3% said someone in their 70s would be best – and 6% said the same of a president in their 30s.