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Trump doctor’s letter: He takes cholesterol drug, is overweight but is in ‘excellent’ health

Presidential candidates usually release their medical information seamlessly, but not this year. The Fix’s Aaron Blake explains why. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post, Photo: Yana Paskova/The Washington Post)
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This post has been updated.

Donald Trump released a letter from his personal doctor on Thursday that summarizes his latest physical exam, saying he takes a cholesterol-lowering drug and is overweight but overall is in “excellent physical health.”

Trump discussed the results of the exam on "The Dr. Oz Show" on Thursday afternoon, saying that presidential candidates have an "obligation" to voters to be healthy and that he feels like he is still in his 30s.

"When you're running for president, I think you have an obligation to be healthy. I just don't think you can do the work if you're not healthy. I don't think you can represent the country properly if you're not a healthy person," Trump, 70, said on the health talk-show, adding that the last time he was hospitalized was when he had his appendix removed at age 11.

Trump admits he wouldn’t release his medical results if they were ‘bad’

The one-page letter is signed by Trump's  longtime doctor, Harold N. Bornstein, a gastroenterological specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. The letter states that Trump is 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 236 pounds, making him overweight and on the verge of being obese for his height. Trump said in the interview that he would like to lose 15 to 20 pounds but that weight loss has always been difficult for him because of his lifestyle.

The letter also lists the results of recent lab tests, which Bornstein says are all within the normal range. The letter says that Trump takes a statin, a drug for lowering cholesterol, along with a low dose of aspirin. During the talk show, Trump said that both of his parents lived to an old age and many of his mother's relatives in Scotland lived into their 90s. The letter states that there "is no family history of premature cardiac or neoplastic disease."

While the letter released by Trump gives more information on his health and physical makeup than previously known, it does not constitute his medical records nor does it give extensive detail about past health matters.

Trump discussed the document with talk-show host and surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz during a taping in New York on Wednesday that aired on Thursday afternoon. Oz is popular nationally but his credibility has been questioned by critics. Trump disclosed the one-page letter to The Washington Post on Thursday soon before the campaign released it publicly. In the letter, which is dated Sept. 13, Bornstein states that Trump has been under his care since 1980, and sits for an annual physical exam.

Bornstein's letter this week lacked the creativity of a letter he signed in December that called Trump's health “extraordinary” and declared he would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Bornstein told NBC News last month that he wrote the letter in about five minutes as a Trump associate waited to collect it, though he stood by his glowing assessment.

In the letter released on Thursday, Trump’s “laboratory results” from a blood test and other exams are also given. He has a cholesterol level of 169, with his level of high-density lipoproteins at 63, his low-density lipoproteins at 94.

The businessman’s blood pressure is 116 over 70. His blood sugar level is 99 milligrams per deciliter. Trump’s level of triglycerides, which are a type of fat in blood, is 61 milligrams per deciliter. And his prostate-specific antigen level is measured as 0.15.

“His liver function and thyroid function tests are all within the normal range,” Bornstein writes, adding that “his last colonoscopy was performed on July 10, 2013 which was normal and revealed no polyps.”

Trump’s latest electrocardiogram test and chest X-ray took place in April 2016 and were “normal."

With regard to Trump’s heart, Bornstein writes that “his cardiac evaluation included a transthoracic echocardiogram” in December 2014 and “this study was reported within the range of normal.”

Bornstein notes that there is “no family history of premature cardiac or neoplastic disease” and that Trump’s parents, Fred and Mary, “lived into their late 80s and 90s.”

Trump’s testosterone level is 441.6.

Despite gestures, Trump is still the least transparent U.S. presidential candidate in modern history

Overall, Trump seems to be relatively healthy, said Allen Taylor, chief of cardiology with MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, which is based at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

“He could lose a few pounds,” said Taylor, who reviewed Trump's information. “His BMI could be improved upon.”

Because Trump is taking medication, his cholesterol levels are normal to optimal, Taylor said. The information released shows he has had a complete cardiovascular screening evaluation, and shows him to be at low to intermediate risk for someone his age of developing heart disease in the next 10 years. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and men typically have a higher risk than women. Using two conventional risk calculators for heart disease risk, Taylor said Trump has a 7 to 8 percent chance of developing heart disease—stroke, heart attack, sudden death—in the next 10 years.

The metric that raised some eyebrows was the inclusion of his testosterone level. Some doctors will screen older patients for testosterone levels, but usually only if there are symptoms suggesting low levels, such as extreme fatigue and lack of libido. Some doctors may prescribe testosterone supplements, a relatively controversial practice, Taylor said. He said Trump’s level is in the normal range, and is not a factor or indication for overall health.

“To me, it’s a non-number. It’s like a vitamin D level. It would not be an indication of a presidential candidate’s overall health,” he said.

Trump’s activity comes as Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is returning to the campaign trail following a bout of pneumonia. Clinton’s campaign on Wednesday released a two-page letter from her doctor that said she had been treated this week for “mild” bacterial pneumonia but is in overall good health and “fit to serve as president.” For months Trump has raised questions about Clinton’s health and stamina, and on Wednesday wondered aloud, tauntingly, about whether Clinton could hold hour-long rallies.

“I don’t know, folks. Do you think Hillary could stand up here for an hour?” Trump asked thousands of supporters on Wednesday in Canton, Ohio, where he held an event.

Read the full text of the letter here.

What Donald Trump is doing on the campaign trail

MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 7: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH on Monday November 07, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Lena Sun contributed to this report.