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December 10, 2019

What Warren's health disclosure means for the other candidates over age 70

Daily Briefing

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, on Friday released a hematology report and a letter from her physician describing her as "a very healthy 70-year-old."

    Where do the 2020 Democratic hopefuls stand on health care?

    Letter details

    Beverly Woo—a primary care physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who has served as Warren's doctor since 1999—in the letter wrote, "There are no medical conditions or health problems that would keep [Warren] from fulfilling the duties of the President of the United States." According to the letter, Warren's only medical condition is hypothyroidism—a common condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive. Warren currently takes medication to treat the condition.

    Woo in the letter noted that Warren "exercises regularly and follows a healthy diet despite her very busy schedule." According to the letter, Warren at her most recent physical exam was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 129 pounds, and had normal blood pressure at a rate of 115/57.

    The letter also stated that Warren received a flu shot this year.

    What Warren's disclosure means for the other candidates

    The health of presidential candidates has been a larger focus of this presidential election because "the field is historically old," with four Democratic hopefuls over the age of 70, the Washington Post reports. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who had a heart attack in October, is the oldest candidate at 78; followed by former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg (D), both age 77; and Warren, age 70.

    President Trump, who is currently 73, holds the record as the oldest person to have been elected as a first-term president.

    Among the presidential candidates in their 70s, Warren is the first to release details on her medical health, according to the Post. Warren's decision to release information on medical health sets a standard for other Democrats seeking the presidential nomination. Politicians are not required to release their medical records, but the public often will request such information.

    Sanders said he would release his health records by the end of the year. Biden, who has faced a number of questions about his health, said he would release his health records before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3. A spokesperson for Bloomberg said Bloomberg will release his health records during the Democratic primary, but did not provide a specific date (Linskey, Washington Post, 12/6; Rappleye, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/6; Panetta, Business Insider, 11/20).

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