WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden received a mostly positive evaluation of his health from doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Thursday after undergoing his annual physical.
Biden’s official health assessment comes as the former Vice President and longtime US Senator from Delaware considers whether to run for re-election in 2024.
“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old male fit to successfully perform the duties of the presidency, including those as CEO, head of state and commander in chief,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor wrote in a five-page summary.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday afternoon before the report was released that Biden is confident he will be able to keep up with calls to be president in six years, when he would be 86.
“This is a president who works a grueling day in and day out with a grueling schedule and delivers results,” said Jean-Pierre.
Thursday’s report on Biden’s health was similar to the report on his last physical exam, in November 2021, when O’Connor wrote that the president remained “a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male fit to successfully perform duties of the President.”
In both reports O’Connor noted that Biden was being treated for a common type of heart arrhythmia called non-valvular atrial fibrillation for which Biden remained “completely asymptomatic”, hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol, gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux, seasonal allergies , a stiffened gait, spinal arthritis, and mild peripheral sensory neuropathy in both feet.
Peripheral neuropathy is often the result of damage to nerves outside the brain and spinal cord; in this case, Biden’s feet. It can result in weakness, numbness or pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that more than 20 million Americans suffer from some type of peripheral neuropathy.
All conditions were listed as stable in Thursday’s report, although the November 2021 report listed stiff gait as recently significant and neuropathy of the feet as a new finding.
“The president’s gait appears to be perceptibly stiffer and less fluid than it has been in the past,” O’Connor wrote in November 2021, noting that Biden said he experiences a morning stiffness that gets better as the day progresses.
“As previously reported, he has sustained a number of orthopedic and sports injuries over the years and is on physical therapy for the continued prescription of wellness and fitness exercises,” he wrote in November 2021. “It is also known that approximately one a year ago, he suffered a fracture in his right midfoot, which could certainly contribute to a gait abnormality.
In Thursday’s report, O’Connor wrote that while Biden’s stride remains stiff, it hasn’t “worsened since last year.” Her peripheral neuropathy symptoms have not progressed, and her examination at Thursday’s doctor’s office was “a little better,” according to O’Connor.
Physical therapy and exercise, O’Connor wrote, “will continue to focus on overall flexibility” to address Biden’s stiffened gait, while custom orthotics will continue to be used to address peripheral neuropathy in his feet.
Biden continues to take three prescription drugs — Crestor to treat high cholesterol, Dymista nasal spray for allergies, and Eliquis to prevent blood clots — and two over-the-counter drugs — Allegra for allergies and Pepcid for acid reflux.
Biden’s physical Thursday also included skin cancer screenings, an eye exam, and a dental visit, all listed as routine, though a small lesion in his chest was referred for a skin cancer biopsy.
The most notable update to the president’s medical history since his last physical, O’Connor wrote, was his COVID-19 diagnosis in July 2022 and his COVID-19 rebound. Since then Biden has not exhibited any symptoms of the long-running COVID-19, he wrote.
“Fortunately, having been fully vaccinated and boosted twice upon initial infection, the president has experienced only mild symptoms, consisting primarily of a deep weak cough and hoarseness,” O’Connor wrote, adding that Biden has since contracted the bivalent COVID-19. 19 vaccine.