Promise kept: Bernie Sanders releases letters from doctors on his health


After the Democrat debate last September, Bernie Sanders raised eyebrows of observers when he canceled three scheduled events in South Carolina. He cited the need to rest his voice which was noticeably more raspy than normal during the debate. At the time, he promised to release his medical records before the primary. Bernie has fulfilled that promise.

The promise last September was made to assure voters that his health is not a hindrance to his campaign. At the age of 78, Sanders is the oldest candidate running for president. At the time he said, “I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “The American people have the right to know about whether the person they are going to be voting for president is healthy.” That was before his heart attack.

On October 1, Bernie experienced chest pains during a campaign event in Nevada. He initially tried to brush it off but after some time passed, he came clean – he did, in fact, have a heart attack. The concern from his supporters was made worse because his campaign was so slow in releasing the full story of his health event. All of this made his campaign promise even more necessary to fulfill.

So, he did. He released statements from two physicians vouching for his fitness to be on the campaign trail. Bernie is even doing better than other men his age after a similar heart attack.

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The director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Vermont said Sanders was able to exercise at “a level that is 50% higher than other men his age with a similar diagnosis,” the letter said.

A letter from the attending physician of the United States Congress, Brian P. Monahan, said Bernie was in good health and has been “engaging vigorously in the rigors of (his) campaign, travel, and other scheduled activities without any limitation,” Monahan wrote.

His lab work was normal, according to the doctors, and he has an assortment of maladies typical of older people. He takes several medications to treat them.

According to the letters, Sanders has been treated in the past for “gout, hypercholesterolemia, diverticulitis, hypothyroidism, laryngitis secondary to esophageal reflux, lumbar strain, and complete removal of superficial skin lesions.” He’s had surgery on left and right-side inguinal hernias as well as a cyst removed from his vocal cord.

Sanders takes five medications, including atorvastatin, aspirin, clopidogrel, levothyroxine, and lisinopril.

Sanders’ doctor on Capitol Hill says he didn’t have symptoms of congestive heart failure. His heart is stronger and it is improving.

Since then, Sanders’ “heart muscle strength has improved” and he is no longer taking the medication that was initially prescribed to him after the heart attack, according to Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician at the U.S. Capitol.

“You have never had symptoms of congestive heart failure. The heart chamber sizes, wall thickness, estimated pressures, and heart valves are normal. Several 24-hour recordings of your heart electrical activity indicated no significant heat rhythm abnormality,” added Monahan.

The general health of geriatric candidates is a question that will continue to be asked – they need to prove they can handle the physical rigors of campaigning and then if elected, the job of president. Bernie doesn’t strike me as physically impaired at all, frankly. He is a lot like Trump on the campaign trail. Both of them keep busy schedules with multiple events in a day. They are the Energizer Bunnies of the campaign season. Both septuagenarians just keep going.

I’m not really so concerned about Bernie’s heart health as I am about Joe Biden’s mental and physical health. His history of brain aneurysms is of concern and he has multiple health issues. Unlike Bernie, Biden often appears to be confused about his location and about his 40-year career in politics.

Elizabeth Warren is also in the group of septuagenarian candidates. She jumped out in front of both Biden and Sanders to release her medical records.

“Senator Warren is in excellent health and has been throughout the 20 years I have served as her physician,” Dr. Beverly Woo, a primary care doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote in the medical report. Warren has “no medical conditions or health problems that would keep her from fulfilling the duties of the President of the United States.”

Woo also disclosed Warren’s “only” condition is hypothyroidism, a common auto-immune condition most often in women.

“She currently takes levothyroxine 0.88 mg per day, which restores her thyroid hormone level to normal,” wrote Woo, who has been Warren’s doctor since 1999.

I can personally attest to the commonality of thyroid conditions in women. It is usually easily controlled with medication, as hers is, according to her doctor. Her blood test and vital signs were described as “within normal limits”. I don’t think anyone is worried about Warren’s health. She is very energetic during campaign events, often appearing to literally bounce across a stage.

President Trump has completed some of his annual physical at Walter Reed Medical Center. He’s proven to be physically able to handle a rigorous campaign schedule. He is planning a campaign event in Wisconsin to counter the next Democrat debate. His first 2020 rally is scheduled in Toledo, Ohio, on Jan. 9.

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