America's 10 Unhealthiest Presidents
8. Ronald Reagan40th President (1981-1989)
Nearsighted: Ronald Reagan's poor eyesight not only disqualified him from serving during World War II, but as a college football player he could only clearly see within a yard's radius, causing him to sometimes be clocked in the head with the ball. Later, when he got glasses, he remarked in surprise that trees had leaves -- something he'd never known had existed before.
Smoker: Reagan was once a smoker, but stopped, reportedly after his brother developed throat cancer.
Prostate stones: In 1966, after experiencing multiple urinary tract infections, Reagan underwent surgery to remove prostate stones.
Bullet wound: In 1981 while riding in his limousine, the president was shot in the chest by would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr. Suffering from blood loss and a collapsed lung, Reagan successfully underwent emergency surgery to remove the bullet, which had missed his heart by an inch. But despite the seriousness of the injury, the president's spirits were still buoyed: When his wife Nancy arrived at the hospital to see him after surgery, Reagan joked to her, "Honey, I forgot to duck."
Hearing loss: Reagan used a hearing aid in his right ear early in his term, but later also started wearing one in his left ear. It's been speculated that his hearing was damaged during his early years as a Hollywood actor, when he was exposed to loud gunshot noises during the filming of Western movies.
Colon cancer: After two benign polyps were discovered in his colon, Reagan had a colonoscopy that revealed another tumor that required surgical removal. As a result, about two feet of his colon was removed.
Skin cancers: In the late 1980s, small basal cell carcinoma was discovered on Reagan's nose, and the cancer was removed. In 1995, another patch of skin cancer was discovered and removed from his neck.
Alzheimer's disease: Though he was famous for having a near-photographic memory during his prime, Reagan's memory deteriorated when he hit his 70s, and he would sometimes forget the names of key staffers and visiting dignitaries. A formal diagnosis of Alzheimer's occurred in 1994.
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