A President's Health
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a president's health

During the two thousand twenty presidential election one video went viral. It was President Trump shuffling down a ramp which sent twitter into a tizzy with talk of stroke.

We've always wanted to know if our presidents are healthy. In fact, in nineteen-sixty, the image of a vigorous and tanned John F. Kennedy helped the forty-three year old become the youngest American president. In truth, Kennedy had a complicated medical history.

At thirty, he was diagnosed with Addison's disease which causes adrenal glands to make low levels of the hormone's cortisol and aldosterone. Patients lose weight and get nausea and darkening of the skin. So, JFK's "tan" was really hyperpigmentation from Addison's. They hid other symptoms too.

He collapsed after a parade in Boston while running for congress and two years later in England. He was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism, so experts now think his endocrine issues suggest he had autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type-two. During his presidential campaign, rivals accused him of a coverup. JFK's brother, Robert, stated that his brother does not have "an ailment described classically as Addison's disease, which is a tuberculose destruction of the adrenal gland". Though technically true, it sounded like JFK did not have Addison's which he did, just not caused by tuberculosis.

Although presidential candidates have privacy rights, they need to be honest about their health and its impact on their ability to lead.

For more information…

All the President's Secrets: John F. Kennedy and Addison's disease
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The drama behind President Kennedy's 1960 election win
It was 56 years ago today that John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States in a bitter contest against the incumbent Vice President, Richard Nixon. It was one of the closest elections in American history, and some people still doubt its outcome...

Addison's Disease
Addison's disease is a rare but serious adrenal gland disorder in which the body can't produce enough of two critical hormones, cortisol and aldosterone. Patients with Addison's will need hormone replacement therapy for life...

Adrenal Glands
Adrenal glands, also known as suprarenal glands, are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of both kidneys. Adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions...