Quiz: Which Presidential Candidates Had Health Issues?

Christine Wiebe; Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


October 10, 2016

John F. Kennedy collapsed twice during the 1960 campaign: once while campaigning in the United States and again while visiting the United Kingdom as a congressman. The likely cause was a type of Addison disease termed autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 (APS 2), which leads to reduced levels of several hormones, causing weakness, fatigue, and sweating.[4] This type of Addison disease is often familial; Eunice, Kennedy's sister, also suffered from it.

In 1940 at age 23 years, Kennedy had low blood pressure, and as a young adult he was extremely thin. Addison disease can darken normal skin coloration and may have been partially responsible for the noticeable tan appearance of Kennedy's skin.[5]


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