The Washington Post

Michelle Bachmann: Migraines ‘will not affect my ability to serve’

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) suffers from migraines, she acknowledged Tuesday, but said the headaches are “easily manageable with medication” and would not hamper her ability to serve as president.

The e-mail statement came after The Daily Caller reported that she been hospitalized multiple times because of the condition, citing three former aides to the Republican hopeful.

Bachmann, 55, who was campaigning in South Carolina on Tuesday, said that the headaches have not interfered with her hectic schedule as a presidential candidate who travels across the country to campaign and a congresswoman who often returns to Washington to vote.

“I have prescription medication that I take whenever symptoms arise and they keep the migraines under control,” Bachmann wrote. “Let me be abundantly clear — my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as Commander in Chief.”

Questions about candidates’ health are not new. Four years ago, GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was dogged by questions about his age — he was 71 at the outset of the campaign — and his status as a three-time survivor of skin cancer.

In 2003, Democratic hopeful Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) had to fend off concerns about his ability to serve after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer — a disease that claimed his father’s life. And in 2000, the George W. Bush campaign was questioned repeatedly about the health of the vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, who began suffering mild heart attacks at age 37.

About 30 million Americans — an estimated 6 percent of men and 18 percent of women — suffer from migraines, which can range in severity from mild to debilitating. It once was derided as a “neurotic women’s disease,” said Mayo Clinic researcher David Dodick.

The condition has been the subject of more research in recent years, Dodick said, and treatments have improved dramatically in the past decade.

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Staff writer Christian Torres contributed to this report.

Sandhya Somashekhar is the social change reporter for the Washington Post.

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