Published: Wed, January 01, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Doctors: Bernie Sanders Healthy Enough for 'Rigors of Presidency'

Doctors: Bernie Sanders Healthy Enough for 'Rigors of Presidency'

Sanders' campaign released letters from LeWinter and two other doctors on Monday after promising for months to provide comprehensive medical information about the 78-year-old senator. After three days of silence while Sanders was in the hospital, his campaign revealed that he had suffered a heart attack, and announced that he would scale back his rigorous events schedule.

Earlier this month, Sanders underwent testing at the University of Vermont Medical Center, including a treadmill stress test. UVM's director of cardiac rehabilitation, Philip Ades, wrote that Sanders "was able to exercise to a level that is approximately 50% higher than other men his age with a similar diagnosis". Less than two and a half days later, Sanders left the Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, as his campaign confirmed that the Vermont senator had suffered a heart attack.

"At this point, I see no reason he can not continue campaigning without limitation and, should he be elected, I am confident he has the mental and physical stamina to fully undertake the rigors of the Presidency", wrote University of Vermont Medical Center cardiologist Martin LeWinter, who has treated the candidate.

Sanders was one of the seven candidates who participated in the most recent Democratic presidential debate on December 19.

In addition to Sanders, three other Democratic presidential nominees are in their 70s.

The recovery, and the endorsements of high-profile progressives like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have seen Sanders' polling numbers rise just as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is also campaigning on left-wing proposals like a wealth tax, has seen her support dip.

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A separate letter from Brian Monahan, the congressional attending physician in Washington, said several medications that Sanders received after his heart attack, including a blood thinner and beta blocker, "were stopped based on your progress". He also uses a statin to keep his cholesterol in check and another medication for an unrelated condition, low thyroid levels.

In the months following the episode, Sanders 'heart muscle strength has improved'.

Following his heart attack, he vowed to release his medical records by the end of 2019.

Sanders is now taking lisinopril, a medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure; atorvastatin, which helps manage cholesterol; clopidogrel, a common blood thinner;and levothyroxine, which treats an underactive thyroid gland.

"You are in good health now and you have been engaging vigorously in the rigors of your campaign, travel, and other scheduled activities without any limitation", Monahan wrote, noting that the Vermont senator is no longer required to take blood thinners or beta blockers, which prevent blood clots and manage abnormal heart rhythms. Sanders trails former Vice President Joe Biden, who is on 28.3%, and leads both Warren (15.3%) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (8.3%) in the polling average. President Trump is 73.

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