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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Presidential diabetes   (October 15, 2008)

A "preview of coming attractions" on CNN for an upcoming CNN special about the physicians caring for U.S. Presidents mentioned diabetes, but I didn't see the special itself to see exactly what they discussed. It did lead me to wonder, however: have any of the US presidents been diagnosed with diabetes? Presidents have had everything from thyroid overactivity to strokes to cancers, and probably a lot of other health disorders that were never publicly disclosed, but I'm unaware of any mention of presidential diabetes.

Looking around the internet, there's a list of people with diabetes that includes Warren G. Harding, but that website doesn't provide any details. Other lists of famous people with diabetes don't mention any U.S. presidents

One of my favorite locations (Wikipedia) doesn't seem to list anyone: Googling either "President of the United States" or "Warren G. Harding" plus "diabetes" at Wikipedia.org has no clear mentions.

At least one candidate for President (Mike Huckabee) has openly discussed his diabetes. Per Wikipedia's bio, "In 2003, physicians diagnosed him with adult-onset diabetes and informed him that he would not live more than 10 years if he did not lose weight. Huckabee admits that he has weighed as high as 280-300 pounds. Prompted by this diagnosis ... Huckabee began eating a healthier diet and exercising. He subsequently lost over 110 pounds."

What would be the difference to anyone if the U.S. President had diabetes? Probably very little. But it would be interesting to know.

Plus, when famous folks (including rock'n'roller Bret Michaels, Miss America Nicole Johnson, and actress Halle Berry as well as Mike Huckabee) are willing to discuss their diabetes, it increases public awareness of the pervasiveness of the disorder, and that folks with diabetes can be wildly successful (at least most of the time - sorry, Mike!), and that diabetes need not interfere with aiming for the highest levels of personal achievement.

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.



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