WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday released a medical report and a letter from her doctor that declared her to be “a very healthy 70-year-old woman” but disclosed that the Democratic presidential candidate takes medication for hypothyroidism.
That condition occurs when the thyroid produces too little of a certain hormone, and if left untreated it can result in a patient feeling tired, cold, or forgetful. But in the letter, Warren’s doctor, Beverly Woo of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said Warren’s medication keeps her thyroid hormone at a normal level.
“There are no medical conditions or health problems that would keep her from fulfilling the duties of the President of the United States,” wrote Woo, who is also an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Warren had several blood tests and a January mammogram with normal results, Woo said.
Warren is the first top-tier Democratic presidential candidate to release a medical report this cycle, a move that will undoubtedly kick off a new primary-within-a-primary: The contest to be the hardiest septuagenarian running for president. It also comes as President Trump, 73, faces questions about an unscheduled doctor’s visit last month.
Warren has staved off questions about her health by campaigning with the energy of a coiled spring. She runs onstage at her events and stands for hours to take photographs with voters, sustained with sips of coconut water.
The health of her oldest competitors, however, has been the subject of intense interest in recent months. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 78, had a heart attack on Oct. 1, and had two stents placed in a coronary artery. He took about two weeks off from campaigning, stoking doubts about his stamina going forward. Sanders has since declared that he feels better than ever — and his polling numbers have risen with his apparent recovery — but he has yet to release the medical records he has promised to publicize by the end of the year.
Former vice president Joe Biden, 77, also has been scrutinized for a rambling speaking style and seems less sharp and energetic than when he ran for president in 2008. Biden has promised to release his medical records, and he occasionally challenges people to contests of intelligence or fitness when the question of his age comes up on the trail — as he did in a tense exchange with a voter in Iowa on Thursday.
“Let’s do push-ups together here, man,” Biden said. “Let’s run. Let’s do whatever you want to do. Let’s take an IQ test.”
Sometimes voters who see the candidates at the same time remark on an apparent contrast between the older contenders age and energy levels.
“I love Joe Biden, but he seems old and tired during the debate,” said Abdi Ahari, 50, a surgeon who attended the Democratic Wing Ding fund-raiser in Iowa in August.
At the same event, Daisy McKinley, 76, remarked of Warren: “She has so much more life and oomph.”
The health of a candidate can be sensitive political territory, especially for female candidates. Although Sanders’ heart attack seems to have improbably boosted his campaign, Hillary Clinton was heavily scrutinized after she collapsed while suffering from pneumonia in September 2016.
During that election, Trump released a doctor’s letter that called his health “astonishingly excellent” — which that doctor later said Trump wrote himself — and went on “The Dr. Oz Show” to boast about his health. Since becoming president, one of Trump’s doctors, Ronny Jackson, declared he could live to be 200 if he had a healthier diet. Results of a February physical exam released earlier this year show showed Trump to be technically obese.
Last month, he had an unscheduled Saturday medical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. That episode raised new questions about his health. The White House doctor, Sean Conley, said Trump was undergoing part of his routine physical exam, but it would be unusual to do that just six months after his last physical.
Woo said Warren’s most recent physical, in January, was normal. Her blood pressure was 115/57, and her heart rate was 70 beats per minute. Her total cholesterol was 193 milligrams per deciliter, which is below the 200 milligram threshold for borderline high cholesterol.
Warren’s hypothyroidism is a common condition, especially among older women, and about 5 percent of the adult US population has some degree of it, said Elizabeth Pearce, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and an endocrinologist at Boston Medical Center.
As long as hypothyroidism is monitored periodically, “there is no reason to believe it would cause any symptoms or interfere in any way with the ability to function in a high-powered job,” she said.
Warren also released hematology and chemistry reports. Most of her tests came back normal, but she had a glucose reading of 103, just above the normal range. Warren’s tests also showed a flag for high levels of high density lipoprotein, which is good for the heart. Woo also said Warren has not smoked or used drugs, nor had a problem with alcohol.
Warren is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 129 pounds. Woo said Warren exercises regularly. A campaign aide said the senator walks between 6 and 7 miles per day.