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Biden’s physician says he is ‘fit for duty’ at 80 years old

Biden’s physician says he is ‘fit for duty’ at 80 years old

President Biden is fit to execute the demands of his job, his physician said in a memo following a physical exam on Thursday, writing that he “remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male.”

Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, wrote that none of Biden’s preexisting conditions noted during his last physical, including a stiff gait and high cholesterol, had worsened.

“The President remains fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations,” the physician wrote.

It had been 15 months since Biden’s last physical. In the time since, his most notable health development was contracting COVID-19 last summer, O’Connor wrote. He treated Biden at the time and said on Thursday that Biden has no symptoms of long COVID-19.

“The President has not experienced any residual symptoms which may be considered to be ‘Long COVID,’ he said, noting that Biden has been double vaccinated and received both a booster and an updated booster shot.

Biden also had a small lesion from his chest excised during the physical and it was sent for a biopsy.

The doctor noted that Biden’s nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, also called an A-fib, test is ‘stable,’ as well as his hyperlipidemia test and gastroesophageal reflux.

During Biden’s November 2021 physical, O’Connor pointed to two areas that warranted further monitoring: Biden’s “throat clearing,” and what he described as a stiffened gait. 

He noted that Biden “experiences occasional symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux,” which is seen when the president clears his throat during speeches and public remarks. The doctor also said gastroesophageal reflux can contribute to the president’s “occasional cough and sinus congestion.”

As for the president’s stiffened gait, O’Connor noted that the issue stems from “wear and tear” of his spine, but that the issue has not worsened since last year. O’Connor said physical therapy will continue to focus on the general flexibility and maneuvering, and the issue was not connected to any neurological problems.

Biden has seasonal allergies and sinus congestion, O’Connor noted, and said the president uses nasal spray and over-the-counter Allegra. 

For a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet, which O’Connor said is ‘stable,’ Biden has been prescribed custom shoe inserts. Additionally, the president’s eye and dental exams were both deemed ‘routine’ with no issues.

The doctor noted that Biden works out “at least five days per week” and does not smoke or drink alcohol. He added the president weighs 178 pounds and is 6’0″ tall.

Biden’s physical was completed over a month past when he said it would be. The president had told reporters on Thanksgiving day last year that part of the exam was already done and the rest would be completed by the end of 2022.

Biden’s health will be closely watched as he inches closer to announcing his 2024 reelection bid. The president would be 82 at the start of a second term. 

Biden was already the oldest president in American history at the time of his swearing in, and while Democrats have largely fallen in line in support of another Biden campaign, questions about his age and fitness for office will likely be central to attacks by his opponents.

Nikki Haley, who is running for the GOP 2024 nomination, said in her announcement that politicians over the age of 75 should be required to take a competency test.

The White House shrugged off that argument on Thursday, pointing to Biden’s list of legislative achievements since taking office and his victory in 2020, when he was 77 years old.

Asked last week during an interview with PBS NewsHour about those in his own party who wonder if his age is an issue, Biden gave what has become his usual retort on the issue.

“Watch me,” Biden said. “It’s all I can say.”

“I would be completely, thoroughly honest with the American people if I thought there was any health problem, anything that would keep me from being able to do the job,” he added. “And so we’ll see. But, you know, I just, I think people have to just watch me.”

Updated at 5:55 p.m.

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