Vice President Gore is in "outstanding overall health," with no serious diseases and no obvious risk factors for them, according to a summary of his medical record released yesterday.
Nine physicians, as well as an audiologist, a physical therapist and a dietitian participated in Gore's most recent physical exam on May 7. The vice president underwent a 19-minute treadmill test, which showed no evidence of heart problems, and had 65 blood and urine tests. This is more than recommended for most people showing no symptoms of disease but relatively common in "executive physicals."
Gore does have mild hearing loss for high-pitched sounds and imperfect vision, corrected with glasses, the summary shows. In recent years he's had a ruptured Achilles' tendon surgically repaired and small skin cancer removed. The three-page summary consisted largely of findings from the five-hour physical in May and included historical information, such as sports injuries. Photocopies of his actual medical records, however, were not released.
Former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, Gore's opponent for the Democratic nomination for president, recently released a two-page summary of his health after he briefly suspended his campaign when he suffered a bout of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. Texas Gov. George W. Bush has sent out a three-page doctor's statement on his health, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has made available more than 1,500 pages of photocopies of his medical records, the most voluminous disclosure of any candidate in the presidential race.
Since at least 1992, the White House medical office has released only summaries of the president's and vice president's periodic medical exams, said Richard Tubb, an Air Force physician and deputy director of the office. He said patient privacy and national security issues were the reasons the original records were kept confidential.
"The vice president is in outstanding overall health for a 51-year-old man," Tubb wrote in the summary. He noted that Gore completed the Marine Corps Marathon in 1997, runs four to five times a week, and ascended Mount Rainier (a peak of 14,410 feet in Washington) in August.
Gore's blood pressure is normal and his heart rate--58 beats per minute--is low, a sign of cardiovascular fitness. His vision is corrected to 20/20. His high-frequency hearing loss, more pronounced in the left than right ear, is unchanged from 1995 and does not affect hearing normal conversation.
The vice president hasn't smoked since 1973 and drinks only occasionally. He dislocated his left shoulder in 1958, had a chip fracture of his right ankle in 1980, ruptured his Achilles' tendon playing basketball in 1994, and strained his right shoulder skiing in February.
His blood cholesterol is 231, which is "borderline" (200-240) under the recommendations of the federal government's National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). His HDL, often called the "good cholesterol," is 55, well above the minimum desirable of 35 set by the NCEP. His LDL, the best indicator of heart disease risk, is 157. The government guidelines say someone with Gore's health profile should aim for a LDL below 160, with one below 130 as ideal.
A precancerous growth called an actinic keratosis was removed from his forehead during the exam in May. Three years ago, a basal cell carcinoma was removed from his skin.