An Online Wellness Magazine produced by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Presidential Illnesses

A look at the health histories of American presidents

As Americans prepare to elect a new president in November, everything about the candidates will be open to public scrutiny, including their medical records. 

After all, a president should be healthy, right? But history doesn’t lie, and many presidents have had serious health issues. We know about George Washington’s dental problems, William Howard Taft’s morbid obesity and Franklin Roosevelt’s crippling bout with polio, but American presidential history is full of surprising medical factsand proof that serious health issues don’t necessarily preclude someone from succeeding at one of the hardest jobs in the world.

In recognition of this presidential election season, HealthLeader examines some of the more interesting health histories of our famous leaders:


Dwight David Eisenhower:  At war with his body, the 5-star general did not surrender. Read More >>


James Garfield:  An assassin’s bullet leads to a medical fate worse than death. Read More >>


Andrew Jackson:  A tough, brawling president left heartbroken after loss. Read More >>


John F. Kennedy:  A lifetime of extreme illness. Read More >>


Theodore Roosevelt:  From sickly child to America’s great adventurer. Read More >>