Bill Clinton's Health Problems Through The Years

Former President Bill Clinton has faced multiple health challenges throughout his life. While his family's history of heart disease hinted at potential issues, his health problems extended beyond his heart. In 1997, three years into his presidency, Clinton underwent one of his earliest recorded surgeries. The incident occurred when he fell outside a fellow golfer's residence and tore a tendon. The surgery lasted over two hours and was relatively minor compared to his subsequent health issues.

Remarkably, Clinton remained conscious throughout the procedure. He received an epidural anesthetic, numbing his lower body during the surgery. Two hours later, he addressed reporters and expressed feeling great, dismissing the incident as an unfortunate accident, stating, "You know, this was just an accident. Accidents happen to people." (via The New York Times.)

A few months later, during his second term campaign, a precancerous lesion was discovered in Clinton's nose. However, he chose to delay its removal until after winning the election. The subsequent operation to remove the cyst lasted only 12 minutes, and Clinton experienced a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, approximately a year later, a scan revealed another cyst in a more critical location.

Bill Clinton's cancer scares

Months after the doctors removed the cyst in Bill Clinton's nose, a precancerous lesion was discovered in his chest. This cyst, measuring half an inch, was identified during a routine physical examination. While such cysts are common, their potential for developing into cancer warrants their removal. The surgery was performed during his annual physical, and doctors expected a full and uneventful recovery.

In addition to the cyst, he noticed difficulty in hearing and was fitted for completely-in-the-canal hearing aids in both ears. Despite these challenges, Clinton's doctors reported him to be healthy as he reached 51. However, the following months were anything but uneventful for the president.

Just two months after the surgery, in January 1998, the truth about his affair with Monica Lewinsky was leaked. Clinton's second term in office was a trying time for him and his wife, Hillary Clinton. The scandal became a significant political and personal crisis. The subsequent investigation resulted in Clinton's impeachment due to his false statements under oath and allegations of obstructing the investigation into the affair.

Bill Clinton's skin cancer

During his final year as president in 2001, Bill Clinton was diagnosed with skin cancer. A physician identified a lesion on his back during a routine physical examination. The type of cancer detected was basal cell carcinoma, known for its low likelihood of spreading to other body parts or causing death.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and easily treatable form of skin cancer. Clinton underwent surgery to remove the cancerous lesion, and follow-up appointments were scheduled to ensure the cancer did not return. Fortunately, he experienced a successful recovery from the procedure. Additionally, medical tests revealed elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, potentially caused by his well-known fondness for greasy foods.

Nonetheless, Clinton was in excellent health as he handed the presidency to George W. Bush after the inauguration. This marked the conclusion of Clinton's eight years in office as the 42nd president of the United States. Sadly, his health struggles were only beginning.

Bill Clinton's blocked arteries

In 2004, Bill Clinton's health issues reached a critical point. After experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath, he underwent a scan that revealed the presence of four severely blocked arteries, each more than 90% blocked. This condition, quadruple artery blockage, is serious and potentially life-threatening. The risks associated with this condition include heart attack, blood clots, stroke, and death.

Clinton underwent a complex and significant quadruple bypass heart surgery to address the blocked arteries. This open-heart procedure lasted approximately four hours, during which the doctors created alternative routes for blood flow to ensure proper circulation. The surgeons stopped Clinton's heart as they operated on him. This meant that his heart was connected to a machine that pumped blood to keep him alive, while his lungs were also connected to support their functioning. Following the surgery, he remained in the hospital for four days before being discharged for private care at home.

Unfortunately, Clinton experienced more chest pains and discomfort just months after the initial surgery. Tests revealed fluid build-up around his lungs, a complication from the surgery. As a result, he needed another surgery to drain the accumulated fluid. Despite these setbacks, Clinton remained active and even participated in a golf match one day before the second surgery.

More heart issues for Bill Clinton

In 2010, Bill Clinton returned to the same hospital due to heart-related concerns. He had been experiencing discomfort in his chest, leading to the need for a surgical procedure involving the insertion of two stents into his coronary arteries. While not as life-threatening as quadruple bypass surgery, it still carries inherent risks. The dangers associated with this procedure include artery damage, infection, and restenosis.

However, it is worth noting that many patients with significant heart issues often require stents as part of their treatment. Following this health scare, Clinton became more aware of the risks associated with his dietary habits. He decided to become vegan and eliminated animal products from his diet. In an interview with AARP The Magazine, the former president explained that his choice was influenced by his friend, Dr. Dean Ornish, who encouraged him to make healthier food choices.

Clinton began his journey by reading Ornish's book, "Program for Reversing Heart Disease," and managed to lose 30 pounds before his daughter's wedding on July 31st of that year. Despite the controversial cost of Chelsea Clinton's 2010 wedding, he was an active and integral part of the ceremony and was pictured in many photographs looking great and having a good time.

Bill Clinton's health today

Following his diet change and improved health, Bill Clinton remained active, engaging in various activities such as fundraisers and visiting places where he could make a positive impact. However, in 2021, he contracted a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.

In men, UTIs can occur when bacteria travel to the urinary tract. Various factors, including sexual activity and underlying medical conditions, can cause UTIs. Unfortunately, in Clinton's case, the UTI went undetected and spread to his bloodstream, leading to a more severe infection. As a result, he was admitted to the intensive care unit, where he received antibiotics and fluids to treat the infection.

Fortunately, since then, Bill Clinton has not been in the news for significant health concerns. We extend warm wishes for his continued good health as he and Hillary continue to make a difference.