Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, JFK Are U.S. Presidents Who Covered Up Their Health Problems: Is Hillary Clinton’s Seizure The Same?

Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s abrupt exit from a 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York City early Sunday morning from Ground Zero has been chalked up to “overheating,” according to her medical team. However, experts are suggesting there might be a lot more to Ms. Clinton’s sudden deterioration of health that her doctors are willing to reveal.

Hillary Clinton’s abnormally early and quick exit from the 9/11 memorial ceremony was initially blamed on “allergies,” but her doctor later released a statement that noted her prolonged cough was because of pneumonia. Ms. Clinton’s doctor, Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, added through an official statement that the female Democratic presidential candidate was put on antibiotics and advised rest by modifying her hectic schedule.

However, Ms. Clinton’s attendance at the ceremony caused her get “overheated and dehydrated,” resulting in what looked like a seizure as she was hurriedly escorted to her motorcade. Despite being held onto, Ms. Clinton clearly appeared to buckle from a supposed seizure. Though the doctor later attempted to dismiss the rising conspiracy theories about underlying serious physical ailments, past American presidents have been known to hide the truth about their health from the general citizenry. Hence, it might not be completely unreasonable to suggest a high-profile presidential candidate like Ms. Clinton would hide their health problems.

If Hillary Clinton is hiding her supposedly serious deterioration of health, she would certainly not be the first nor the only high-profile personality with aspirations of presiding over the United States to hide her true physical condition. Multiple past American presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, JFK, and others have hidden their serious health concerns from the general public.

It is understandable why Ms. Clinton’s health issues might be hidden. Americans have never taken kindly to health concerns of their presidents. While an occasional mild stroke, as in the case of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955, might be condoned, any health problem that affected speech or other visible impediments raised serious concerns about the president. People have traditionally looked up to their leaders and expected them to lead with strength, wisdom, and a strong stride combined with excellent oratory skills.

While the most famous president to hide information about his health would undoubtedly be Franklin Roosevelt, America’s presidential history is strewn with multiple cases where its leaders have blatantly hidden sensitive information regarding physical and mental health from the general citizenry while they were in the White House. Roosevelt’s polio might be known publicly, but later on in his life, he suffered from congestive heart failure and hypertension, among other serious health problems including bronchitis and pulmonary disease.

According to NewsWeek, John F. Kennedy’s health problems were a closely guarded secret even after the JFK assassination.

“[I]t was only in Robert Dallek’s 2003 biography of John Kennedy that we learned the extent of Kennedy’s illnesses, which he concealed and which his family continued to conceal after he was assassinated—colitis, duodenal ulcers, osteoporosis and Addison’s disease, which is a life-threatening insufficiency of the adrenal glands, requiring twice daily steroids. By 1950, he had constant back pain from vertebral collapse. From the mid-1950s, he was taking powerful narcotics like Demerol and methadone. He took barbiturates for sleep and tranquilizers for anxiety—as many as eight medications a day. There’s some indication that he may have abused amphetamines. Before press conferences, he often required injections in the back to control his pain. Throughout his career, he concealed his illnesses.”

Ronald Reagan is one of the presidents in recent times whose health issues were carefully held back from the public. While the press would show clips of a president poised for action and filled with vigor, Bob Woodward, in his book, Veil, has claimed the snippets of Reagan in good spirits were a mere ruse, and they were carefully hand-picked to portray the image of a healthy president. Woodward insists Reagan could barely manage brief moments of mental lucidity and physical vigor, and his aides secretly worried his might end up as a crippled presidency.

Incidentally, concealing damning information about physical health isn’t restricted to American presidents. François Mitterrand was sworn as the French president in 1981. He suffered from prostate cancer that had spread to his bones. Such information was considered a “state secret,” and Mitterrand completed his term in agonizing pain.

Apart from physical ailments, at least one American president suffered from depression. There might be a solemn reason Calvin Coolidge is labeled as “do-nothing president.” His constant irritability, lack of interest in the affairs of the state, and suspiciously long slumber time could have been the result of losing his favorite son, Calvin Jr., at the tender age of 16.

Despite 68 years of age, Hillary Clinton has a truly hectic schedule that she religiously adheres to. While her determination is commendable, could her health hinder her decision-making if elected the 45th president of the United States?

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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