Is Vladimir Putin really sick?
Doctors classify rumours
Created: 04/08/2022 13:31
By: Bedrettin Bölükbasi
Vladimir Putin during a speech on July 31.
© Mikhail Klimentyev/Imago
Putin's health has been the subject of speculation for months.
Doctors have now classified the rumors and described possible diagnoses.
Munich - With a view to the state of health of Russia's ruler Vladimir Putin, rumors are spreading in the Ukraine war.
From dementia to thyroid cancer and a "steroid craze" for severe pain, the speculation varies.
Are these rumors actually true, or is the Kremlin boss healthy?
In any case, the British Chief of Staff Tony Radakin described the speculation as "wishful thinking".
Doctors are also skeptical, because little can be deduced from pure observation.
Apparently, there are no clear signs that the Russian President is ill.
State of health of Putin: Doctors classify rumors about certain diseases
In most cases, the rumors are derived from Putin's appearance and movements.
A bloated face, hesitant movements and the sometimes limp right arm stimulate the discussion.
Can a person's physical appearance really reveal anything about their health?
And what information does the skin, as the largest human organ, provide?
"Only a few diagnoses can be made from the mere sight," emphasized Christiane Bayerl from the Dermatological Society to the German Press Agency (dpa).
"But various clinical signs draw attention," she added - far removed from the example of Putin.
Depending on the signs, dermatologists would then carry out tissue tests, swabs for germs or ultrasound to see into the skin.
But trying to draw conclusions with an untrained eye is difficult.
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Much is also “misinterpreted by laypeople”.
For example, a red coloring on the face can indicate high blood pressure, but it can also be completely irrelevant.
A certain distribution of the redness could in turn be an indication of a fairly widespread inflammatory rosacea skin disease, explains the clinic director from Wiesbaden.
"A very nice bronze complexion with darkly pigmented palms represents a disorder of the adrenal cortex function," she emphasized.
Anorexia and malnutrition also show increased pigmentation.
Parkinson's and thyroid problems are also among the rumors surrounding the Kremlin boss's state of health.
According to Bayerl, for example, the skin is often dry and scaly in the case of hypothyroidism, or edema - accumulation of fluid in the tissue - occurs around the eyes.
If a person's gait seems disturbed, this can sometimes "allow at least suspected diagnoses" - for example Parkinson's, explained Peter Berlit, Secretary General of the Society for Neurology, the
But: "Not every tremor is Parkinson's." A reduced facial expression may indicate, among other things, the taking of certain medications or mental illnesses.
Recently, there has been speculation that the Russian President is fighting severe pain by taking steroids.
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Speculations about Putin's health: Experts on external warning signs
However, dementia cannot be recognized by external factors, he also clarified.
Other external warning signs?
"Involuntary movements of the extremities or spontaneous muscle twitching can be important symptoms of the disease." From posture, motor skills, speed of movement or the facial expression one can definitely derive indications of diseases, says general practitioner Manfred Imbert.
But: "You never have any certainty with it, only a probability." And it takes some experience to be able to classify external abnormalities or visible changes, which the layperson is likely to lack as a rule, as the doctor points out.
Thyroid cancer - back to rumors about Putin - is not visible externally, unless there are thick nodules on the neck in an advanced stage.
In any case, the doctor considers it "inadmissible" to want to infer certain diseases from video clips.
"You might be able to see that something is wrong, but beyond that everything would be in the realm of speculation," says Berlit.
Still, some are convinced that Putin's power is coming to an end.
A former MI6 chief predicted that Putin would no longer be president by 2023.