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Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The Decrepit Candidate
A lot has been written about the state of Hillary Clinton's health, and less about Donald Trump's health (as he has no apparent health issues), but short of viewing the complete medical records of both candidates, neither of which has yet been released, it is mostly speculation. I, too, have seen the videos of Hillary's "seizures" "blanking out" and coughing periods, but I think they can equally be explained by the circumstances of the events, so they prove nothing. Suspicion, yes; proof, no. But there does exist enough visible, believable evidence from which we can draw conclusions about the candidates' overall health.
I can tell you (from personal experience) that as the "average" person reaches his or her late 60s and then 70s, the body does start to "crap out" from simple wear and tear. Joints become less flexible, the skin is less resilient, fat replaces muscle, and the overall energy level is lower as primary hormone levels (testosterone in men, estrogen in women) decline. In your mid-70s, when a third of your high-school classmates and half of your friends are already dead, it becomes painfully obvious that, statistically speaking, people age and die at different rates -- rates largely determined by genetics, then altered by lifestyle choices (diet, smoking, exercise, etc.).
And this genetically-programmed slow deterioration of the body is clearly visible to the naked eye. That's primarily how we can tell that somebody's old -- they look "old". Now the presidential candidates campaign fully clothed, so we can't see the sagging chest or breasts, the flabby buttocks, the folds of skin on the thighs, the varicose veins in the legs, the moles and "age spots" on the arms, the circulatory-system issues, the decrepit feet, which you might see if the candidates were dressed in T-shirts and shorts or (ugh!) wore bathing suits at the beach. Our visual judgment of "old" for the candidates is confined to their exposed parts -- the face, and to a lesser extent, the hands.
So, thank you Google search, I went looking for close-up photos of Clinton and Trump -- photos with enough resolution (pixels) that I could blow them up to the areas of interest -- the mouth and the eyes -- where age tells. This was not as easy as I thought it would be; most of the photos of the candidates on the Web are low resolution (generally under 60K bytes). I also needed (where possible) photos taken in harsh light so all of the defects/wrinkles/scars/whatever would stand out. I did find a few, and here they are:
The first is this photo of Hillary from June of this year (source: Chicago Defender, June 30, 2016, "Hillary Up Close"), which I did not have to blow up at all to see the areas of interest. Note the "age lines" extending from the nose and chin into the lips; also, the wrinkles in the cheeks and around the eyes.
Above is a close-up of the mouth area from another, two-year-old photo (source: Huffington Post, October 3, 2013, "Hillary Clinton Pushes for Early Education in Campaign"), showing more clearly those "age lines". (Note the two moles at the right corner of her mouth, one with hair growing out of it. Hillary would probably like to have those removed, but likely won't while she's on the campaign trail.)
I have only one really good close-up photo, from 2015, of Donald Trump (source: Entertainment [ew.com], June 29, 2015, "NBC Dumps Donald Trump") from which I have selected the mouth-to-eyes area:
Note the absence of "age lines" in the mouth area. The wrinkles around the eyes appear to be about the same number as Hillary's, but not as severe.
For direct comparison, below is Donald's mouth:
Another sign of aging to look for is "turkey-gullet throat", loose and sagging skin under the chin. Here is the best picture I could find of Hillary's throat when she
looks relaxed (source: Vox, April 12, 2016, "Joe Biden thinks Hillary Clinton isn't 'held to a higher standard' as a woman. Bless his heart."). Note the loose skin under the chin.
With chin pulled back, the effect is exaggerated (source: National Enquirer, August 29, 2016, "Hillary Clinton - Secret Health Crisis Behind Violent Rages"):
Below is the clearest picture I have for Donald's throat (source: paulbibeau.blogspot.com, August 12, 2015, "'Screw You, Yeats', Another Classy Poem By Donald Trump"). He's a bit flabby below the chin, but there's no loose, wrinkly skin.
I have only one "hands" photo, one where the hand(s) are (mostly) in focus, and it is of Hillary's right hand (source: Politico, February 9, 2016, "What Clinton said in her paid speeches"):
But since I don't have any Donald-hand photos, I can't make a comparison.
In searching for these photos I came across numerous, shall we say, "unflattering" ones, including cartoon images and Trump-as-Hitler. But the one that really stuck in my mind is below:
On the left you see what I think is a reasonable representation of Hillary on the campaign trail. On the right -- is that really Hillary in there? Whoever produced this severely-digitally-damaged picture must really, really hate Hillary. (Source: The Political Insider.)
After appearances, the next place to look for a body that's "crapping out" is in the candidates' known recent medical history. Donald's released medical history indicates no medical traumas (falls, injuries, strokes, blackouts, cancer, surgeries, etc,) and he is on preventive medication -- a baby aspirin for blood-clot prevention, and a statin to lower his cholesterol levels.
Hillary has a more extensive released medical history. She had a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) behind her right knee in 1998 (age 50), at which point she started taking the short-acting blood thinner Lovenox when she was flying; and another leg clot in 2009 (age 61). In 2009 she fell and fractured her right elbow while walking to her car, and needed repair surgery. In 2011 (age 63) she fell while boarding a plane to Oman, without injury. In late 2012 (age 65) she had a stomach virus, became dehydrated, fainted, and fell on her head (concussion). This was followed by a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis (blood clot between the skull and the brain, near the right ear), which is life-threatening if not discovered and treated right away.
The concussion caused Hillary to have double vision for awhile, for which she wore Fresnel-prism corrective glasses for about two months, and occasionally thereafter. She was last seen wearing them in public in February 2016 (age 69). She also took a month off from work to recover from the effects of the concussion. She was put on Coumadin to (successfully) dissolve the 2012 blood clot, replacing the as-needed Lovenox; and she continues to take Coumadin, probably for life. (Coumadin is a tricky drug, requiring monitoring of the patient, which Hillary gets. In much larger doses it is known a Warfarin, a rat poison, which kills the varmints by bleeding them to death.)
Hillary also has hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), not uncommon in older women, for which she takes Armour Thyroid. Her doctor, Lisa Bardack, says Hillary has seasonal allergies and also takes a vitamin B-12 supplement. She has no cancer, blood-clotting disorders or cardiac problems (as of age 68), and her exams and lab tests are normal.
A third test for the candidates' health is their energy levels. I don't know if #HidingHillary is a campaign strategy -- ride out the clock until the election -- or if Hillary truly does not have the stamina to pursue an aggressive campaign schedule. But it's clear that Donald does; he's the Energizer Bunny of politics, as we have seen in the primary campaign and are now seeing in the November election campaign.
At age 70 and three months, Donald Trump is young for his age, healthy, and very vigorous, and should have no problem completing a four-year term as president.
At age 69 and ten+ months, Hillary Clinton is an old woman.
Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer and stock market newsletter writer. You can read more of his work on the American Thinker website and at The Contrarian's View.