The Politics Of Health

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After much talk about Donald Trump's failure to release any of his health records, today he appeared on the Dr. Oz show to reveal some much-anticipated answers.

Except, in typical Donald Trump fashion, he didn't reveal much of anything.

For the record, this is NOT a politically motivated blog and I am in no way endorsing any candidate. Even though I love government (and majored in it before going on to medical school), I have no interest in swaying anyone one way or the other.

My fear, however, is that Americans will be duped into thinking that what was discussed in the brief Dr. Oz interview was actually a thorough health report.

Let's take a look:

Trump's entire "revelation" was 2 pages. Two. Dos.

This makes no sense to me! After my last physical exam, I walked out about with no less than 8 pages of lab results, EKG reports and other assessments. This was after my internist proclaimed me "the picture of good health." Eight pages! So why should we be satisfied by such little detail?

These whopping 2 pages included the fact that Trump was found to have high cholesterol a few years back, treated with a statin; nothing out of the ordinary.

When asked about diet and lifestyle changes, he said a lot about nothing.

He admitted in the interview that he is a bit overweight and has a penchant for fast food, especially on the campaign trail. This isn't shocking either, especially if we remember Bill Clinton in his heavier days as President.

Trump made no comments about how he counteracts those fast food meals with other foods. Does he ever eat a fruit or veggie? Does he at least TRY?

He also failed to release any stress tests or details on his cardiovascular health. How hard can his heart pump before he keels over? How clogged or unclogged are his arteries? President Clinton ended up needing bypass surgery at a younger age than Trump is now.

Which brings up my biggest beef with this interview: When asked if he exercises, Trump said no. He stated that at his rallies when he walks around shaking hands he gets a good work out.

OH NO! NO NO NO! Your heart rate needs to go UP to a certain level in order to get cardiovascular benefit from an exercise. Walking is wonderful and great exercise when done consistently and for a prolonged period of time. Stepping down from the podium to spend a few minutes shaking hands around a big room isn't exercise!

It sounds like Trump has a pretty sedentary lifestyle and is trying to pass off no exercise as exercise -- and all I care about is making sure all Americans know this simply isn't true.

Lack of exercise is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer.

Which brings up another point:

I would like to know if Trump has ever had a scan of his body or brain? Is he hiding a brain MRI that reveals early telltale signs of dementia that predate symptoms? Has his body ever been scanned? Are his doctors following any slow growing tumors they may or may not be concerned about?

The 2 page report states that Trump has no symptoms or complaints of any kind. If I were in his shoes I'd probably say the same thing. Yet I know many patients that for whatever reason never complained about stomach issues or certain aches or pains, only to eventually have scans that revealed longstanding tumors. I'd like to know if my future president is going to need surgery or any sort of treatments over the next 8 years.

The next question that begs answering is -- how much will we now expect from Hillary Clinton?

Politicians revealing personal health history is a tricky and slippery slope. If we are going to expect certain transparency from one, we should expect it from all.

Here is where gender actually becomes part of the issue:

Does Clinton need to reveal if she took certain birth control in the past? What about if she is currently on hormone replacement therapy? Depending on the answer, she may have a greater than average risk of certain cancers we may want to know about.

Should a female candidate reveal previous abortions? Personally, if a candidate was pro-life I would want to know if they had an abortion in the past and why!

I wonder -- if we are indeed satisfied with Trump's minimal answers, will we be just as happy with 2 pages of minimal information from our first female presidential candidate?

Now I'm opening up a whole other can of worms...