- President Joe Biden’s health exam results are in and the president appears to be in good physical condition.
- He is being treated for some minor health conditions — osteoarthritis, seasonal allergies, and gastroesophageal reflux — but remains in good health for a person 80 years old.
- Experts note that many people who remain active can work well past the age of 80.
President Joe Biden’s routine health exam results are in and the president appears to be in good physical shape.
Biden, 80, underwent a thorough physical health evaluation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday.
In a briefing from the White House, his physician, Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, FAAFP, said that President Biden remains fit for duty and able to carry on his responsibilities without the need for any health accommodations.
Overall, O’Connor said Biden is in good health, although he does have a few minor health conditions his physicians continue to monitor, including osteoarthritis and gastroesophageal reflux that causes him to cough and clear his throat.
“He certainly has the common asymptomatic conditions that most older adults have, but they seem to be mild and well controlled. Overall, I would put him well above an average 80-year-old male,” said Dr. Mary Tinetti, a Yale Medicine geriatrician and a professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut.
During Biden’s last health exam in November 2021, his doctor noted that the president has had joint stiffness, particularly in his feet, and advised him to wear orthotics, do physical therapy, and exercise regularly.
The stiffened gait appears to be caused by moderate to severe osteoarthritic changes in his spine, a condition called spondylosis, according to his health report.
Spondylosis, which causes wear and tear between the joints, is common in the president’s age group.
“If you look at X-rays of 100, 80-year-old males, probably close to 80 to 90 percent would find some evidence of spondylosis or arthritis,” Tinetti told Healthline.
Mild peripheral neuropathy — or nerve damage — may be contributing to Biden’s gait changes, his physician stated in the briefing.
In some cases, extra bone can grow in the affected area, which can press on nearby nerves and cause pain.
“That could be part of what could be leading to some of his walking problem, his gait problem,” Tinetti said.
According to Dr. Deborah Kado, a geriatrician and co-director of the Longevity Center at Stanford Medicine in California, the condition typically progresses slowly and can be well-managed with treatment.
“Many people suffer from osteoarthritis and it can be managed with treatments that can range from physical therapy to anti-inflammatory medications, to corticosteroid injections if the pain is more severe and debilitating,” Kado told Healthline.
The president underwent a detailed neurological exam and his doctor found no signs of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, or multiple sclerosis.
“President Biden appears to be functioning at full capacity in terms of neurologic health,” Kado said.
The presidency requires Biden to multi-task, concentrate, recall information, and make high-stakes decisions.
“From a public perspective, there are no indications to suggest he is faltering in any of these areas,” Kado said.
Biden has asymptomatic AFib, a condition where the heart’s upper chambers (atria) beat out of coordination with the lower chamber (ventricles).
Tinetti says there are two reasons AFib can be concerning.
First, is clotting — due to irregular contractions, blood can pool around the heart, and in some cases, it can clot and travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
To avoid this, people with AFib are put on blood thinners. Biden is currently taking an anticoagulant, which helps prevent clotting.
The second concern is the irregular pumping of the blood.
This can cause problems like lightheadedness and a reduced ability to exercise, however, Biden doesn’t appear to struggle with this.
“His heart, from that perspective, looks fine. For him, it’s not giving any symptoms,” Tinetti said.
It’s unknown if Biden plans to run for a second term in 2024, but if he decides to do so, it doesn’t appear as though his health will get in his way.
“He appears to be in good health, and in better health than many who are a decade younger than he is,” says Kado.
According to the health exam results, Biden eats well and exercises regularly, which has likely helped him maintain good health.
He also stays optimistic even in the face of adversity, which Kado says “has been shown in many research studies to lead to favorable outcomes including healthy aging and enhanced longevity”
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects older workers against age-related discrimination, she noted.
“If he remains as physically and mentally capable as he was found to be today, Biden may well be able to work for many more years,” Hoffman told Healthline.