Donald Trump continues to make the health of the Presidential candidates an issue.

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I find this ironic considering the letter Mrs. Clinton produced makes Trump’s look like it was written in crayon. Then again writing a letter like this takes longer than five minutes.

What of Trump’s claim that he is healthier?

There is actually some information in the two letters that we can use to compare Trump with Clinton health wise, for example both candidates are non smokers. Dr. Bardack informs us that Mrs. Clinton is up to date on her “routine health maintenance” and mentions the specific cancer screening tests that have been performed. Dr. Bornstein writes a more vague “recent complete medical examination” about Trump, so we don’t actually know if he has had a routine colonoscopy. Trump has low PSA (it’s quite low, read more here if you are interested in the possible reasons/explanations).

If both candidates have completed all their required health screening (a leap with Trump’s letter as the specifics are spelled out in Clinton’s and not in his) and are non smokers then cancer-wise they are on a relatively even playing field. However, they are not when it comes to their risk of heart attack . Trump’s doctor doesn’t provide quite enough information (on purpose or just a rushed omission we may never know) for comparison, but we can make an educated guess.

To compare the two candidates and their risk for heart attack I plugged their information into a risk calculator provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. We need age, gender, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, if they are taking a medication for blood pressure, as well as total and HDL cholesterol. Trump’s letter does not include cholesterol levels. For Trump I did the calculations using the same cholesterol and HDL as Clinton as well a second calculation using significantly better values than Mrs. Clinton just in case his levels are better. As Trump is on a statin (a cholesterol medication) and professes his love for Kentucky Fried chicken a significantly better cholesterol than Clinton is probably less likely. If he released this information we could, of course, better compare the two for heart attack risk.

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Hillary Clinton’s heart attack risk score using information provided by her doctor:

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Donald Trump’s heart attack risk score using Clinton’s cholesterol levels:

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Donald Trump’s heart attack risk score using better cholesterol levels than Hillary Clinton: 

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Mrs. Clinton has a 1% chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. Trump’s risk is at least 7%, but possibly 9% or even greater. This is much greater than Clinton’s.

Based on the available information Donald Trump is more likely to have a heart attack in the next 10 years compared to Mrs. Clinton. 


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  1. Hi Jen , just out of interest is the American system of blood pressure different to the UK ?
    In the UK , systolic blood pressure of 100-110 would be on the low side . Our *normal* is 135 .

    1. Not a doctor, but commonly systolic blood pressure up to 120 is treated as OK, 121-140 as borderline and over 140 as high. But it matters if it’s just one measurement or repeated measurements.

      OK, just looked up wikipedia. They state normal as 90-119, 120-139 as prehypertension, 140-159 as stage 1 hypertension, 160-179 as stage 2 hypertension and 180 or higher as stage 3 hypertension.

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