Former Vice President Joe Biden – who previously said his health would be his biggest decision in 2020 – gave reporters his first health assessment since he announced his entry into the presidential race on 5 May.
Biden’s most recent health report to the White House Public Health Office showed he was “fully capable of performing his constitutional function as President of the United States”.
The details were released as Biden celebrates his 73rd birthday on Sunday.
Biden’s office released a medical review via email on Thursday, three days after The New York Times disclosed the biography for the vice president and reported that his wife, Jill Biden, “scratched her head in amazement” upon finding out her husband had said he wanted to run in 2020.
Biden’s 2015 report noted that he had operated on his shoulder, wrist and elbow but said that “most of the damage has healed”. He is listed as suffering no long-term effects of the treatment.
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He had vision problems, experiencing a “partial right retinal detachment” – the detached retina was “not constricted by the cataract”, the report noted.
He did not have any symptoms of hypertension, though his blood pressure was fluctuating and there was a need for further testing.
Biden’s lab results showed that he was “healthy” with “substantial fluid retention” which could be caused by fluid retention. That fluid could come from benign cysts in the prostate, the report noted.
Biden’s 2015 report did not include information about the history of his HIV or a history of heart attack, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Biden previously said he would hold off from announcing a presidential run until he was 100%. Biden initially said he hoped to make his decision by the end of the year but later announced he would wait until after the midterms in November.
“I am not running for president,” Biden said on 5 May. “I have no intention of running for president. I am at peace with that. The decision has been made. The people of Delaware are with me, and I am confident the decision I make has been made.”
Despite Biden’s health issues, people who know him said he is mentally sharp and capable of running for president.
“I have known him a long time. He is bright, he is sharp. He is totally fit to serve,” Mark Penn, the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, told NBC on 5 May.
“He has a keen understanding of what it is that a national leader needs to do. He sees things that we see,” Penn added.
Biden has spoken to other former officials to get advice on how to run a White House run. He has “been welcomed with open arms” by top Clinton aides, a source close to the Biden campaign told the Times.
By law, only the president can release his health report. But Biden is not the only candidate to date who had to deny that he had been diagnosed with a serious illness.
Former 2016 Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, 55, faced questions over whether he was malnourished when rumors spread that he was battling an eating disorder after his marriage hit the rocks.