03 July 2013

The medical histories of America's presidents

A hat tip to the crazy cat lady for sending me the link to a website devoted to collecting the details of the health of American presidents.

Some entries are extensive - Franklin Delano Roosevelt's includes information on his polio (though no mention of the alternative possibility of Guillain-Barre), his hypetensive cardiomyopathy, and his atherosclerosis ("arteries so atherosclerotic that embalmers could not get a needle into them.")

Others seem to amass trivia - William Taft had, in addition to his sleep apnea, a bad cold, an episode of motion sickness, constipation, and a sunburn on his bald spot.

An interesting resource.


  1. I knew Kennedy was a mess, but WOW!

  2. I clicked on the link reading "medieval history" of presidents, thinking "what the..." but medical history is not so interesting in comparison :)

  3. It's astonishing how much George Washington accomplished given how often he had been seriously ill with such diseases as TB, smallpox and malaria.

    Of personal interest to me is the number of presidents injured by horses, as we have several horses of our own. I assumed that people who rode as their only means of transportation would be more capable than the casual trail rider, but perhaps it was the number of hours in the saddle-horses are horses, accidents happen.


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