Is the President’s Yearly Physical Different Than Yours?
Well, it depends on who is president.
During a press briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced that “the president will, as always, undergo a yearly physical,” and that she would keep the press “posted on the date and time when that happens.” It has been a over a year since President Donald Trump’s last yearly physical exam, which occurred on January 12, 2018.
Sanders did not elaborate on whether or not Trump would be releasing his results to the public, as he’s not legally obligated to do so. By most accounts, one could say that making his test results public record last year did not go over terribly well.
That physical was performed by Dr. Ronny Jackson, who followed it up with an unusually long press conference in which he gave a glowing review of Trump’s health that raised plenty of eyebrows. The Internet and late-night talk-show circuit had a field day with his claim that Trump was 6′ 3″ and weighed 239 pounds—which seemed to conveniently place him just one pound of shy of obese. (In fairness to Trump, presidential historian Robert Dallek says that presidential physicals should be of “probably zero” interest to the rest of us, as they’re always, in the words of The New York Times, “buoy[ed] whatever image the candidate and president have presented about his health.”)
However, the credibility of Jackson’s assessment went under further scrutiny in the months that followed, after anonymous sources claimed that Jackson was “repeatedly drunk” while on duty as White House physician, created a hostile work environment, and unethically prescribed sleep-related drugs. Jackson vigorously denied the claims, and he ultimately withdrew himself from Trump’s nomination to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. This year, it’s likely that the routine physical will be undertaken by Dr. Sean Conley, the incumbent White House doctor.
If Conley’s test is like Jackson’s, it won’t be very different from your own yearly physical. (Assuming that you’re a man north of 50 years in age.) Jackson tested the president’s eyes, ears, teeth, neck, lungs, heart, gastrointestinal system, skin, blood count, and cholesterol levels. He also took a urine sample and tested his reflexes.
The results, of course, indicated that Trump’s overall health was excellent, and the only recommendation that he really had was for Trump to cut down on fat and carbs and adopt a routine exercise regime in order to lose a little weight. Jackson noted that they would be increasing Trump’s daily dose of of Rosuvastatin—a drug used to lower cholesterol—and continue prescribing him Acetylsalicylic Acid for cardiac health, Finasteride to prevent male pattern baldness, Ivermectin Cream for his rosacea, and a daily multivitamin.
It should be noted that President Trump also received a prostate exam, and the results indicated he’s not in any danger of prostate cancer. (Though there’s speculation that his very low PSA levels are a side effect of the drug he takes to promote hair growth.)
But there’s one element of Trump’s physical from last year that broke from routine practice, and it’s one that you’ll basically never encounter at any GP’s office. As part of his physical, Trump asked Jackson to administer a cognitive exam, most likely in order to try and silence critics who frequently express doubt about his mental ability to lead this country.
He received a 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Exam—a 10-minute, 11-question, 30-point questionnaire that’s widely used to detect any form of “mild cognitive decline.” It’s not clear if Trump plans on re-taking the cognitive exam this year. (If you’re looking for a hilarious read, don’t miss our article, “I Took the President’s Cognitive Test and Here’s How I Scored.”)
So, outside of those few aberrations, Trump’s yearly physical exam does not differ very much from that of the average 72-year-old citizen without any known existing health issues. And for more on the private life of our current commander-in-chief, check out President Trump’s 13 weirdest habits.