Rear Admiral and White House physician Ronny Jackson announced that President Donald Trump was in excellent health after conducting his annual physical exam last week. The next day, however, Penn medical professor Daniel Rader said otherwise.
Rader, the director of the lipid clinic at Perelman School of Medicine, joined three other cardiologists in questioning Jackson's claim about Trump's "excellent cardiac health," according to a New York Times article on Jan. 17. Rader said Trump’s high cholesterol and his use of the high cholesterol medication Crestor indicates poor cardiac health.
“One obvious question is, how long has he been on a statin?” Rader said to The New York Times. “What was his LDL ["bad" cholesterol levels] before he started taking it?”
In his report to the Times, Rader explained that if Trump's dosage of Crestor were as high as Jackson reported, Trump's cholesterol level most likely would have begun above the incredibly dangerous level of 200.
Radar was not immediately available to respond to requests for comment.
Those levels could potentially put the president at risk for a heart attack or stroke, especially given Trump's reported low levels of exercise and poor diet.
Trump's health report is similar to those of former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. What stood out about Trump’s exam, though, was his request for a cognitive screening to detect potential cognitive issues. Trump is the first president ever to undergo a memory screening.
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment was designed to detect for mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
Trump scored a 30 out of 30 on his test. A score of 26 or lower would indicate dementia, the Washington Post reported.
While Trump's request for this screening might be unprecedented, it is not entirely unsurprising, considering the level of attention Trump’s mental state has drawn throughout his first year in office.
“There has been more speculation out there about President Trump’s health, both mentally and physically, relative to some of our immediately proceeding presidents,” Penn political science professor Marc Meredith said.
Meredith added that Trump is “a little older” than the last few presidents, which may add to this scrutiny.
Communications director of College Republicans and College sophomore Bob Bailey said that this discourse is both positive and should be shared.
“I think it’s definitely the right of citizens to know what the health of the president is,” Bailey said. “He’s leading our country so we want to make sure he’s in a physical and mental state where he’s able to do that. And clearly the results from all of his medical tests show that he is actually in excellent medical condition.”
College junior Jake Breimann agreed that this information should be shared, adding that quantitative data can make it much easier to reach correct conclusions and lend credibility to the debate.
“If you have a leader who’s potentially not in good health,” Breimann said, “there can be sudden issues that pop up that can completely, well, turn the tide of how decisions are going to be called.”
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