Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Newsmax TV
that he was shocked when he was told a decade ago that he had diabetes.
Huckabee said, while appearing on "America's Forum" Tuesday, that when his doctor gave him the news that if he "didn't make lifestyle changes that I might not survive the next decade, it really did get me to thinking, and it shook me to my core.
"I realized that a lot of the health issues that we face are of our own making, and a good way to put it in perspective is that ... somewhere around 80 percent of all the healthcare costs in America are related to chronic disease — disease that for most people could be resolved or at least benefited if we didn’t' smoke, and exercised and didn't overeat," he said.
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"I didn't smoke, never had, but I didn't exercise and I did overeat, and I realized that there were some things that I had control of.
"I set out to make some significant lifestyle changes — lost over 100 pounds, lost all the symptoms of diabetes, reversed it," Huckabee told Newsmax.
"It's one of those things that people need to realize that there are a lot of very costly diseases, costly financially and costly from a standpoint of just personal well-being," he said.
"Many of those things we can do something about."
Huckabee contends that early intervention was key in his case.
"It was a freshly diagnosed case of diabetes, so I hadn't had a long history of it," he said.
"And by making the lifestyle changes, both my normal blood sugar and my A1C hemoglobin — which is really the most important marker in diabetes treatment because it really judges blood sugar over a period of time — those went down to the extraordinarily normal range where they really were ideal, and that's been a significant factor," he said.
While Huckabee says that in some cases drugs will be necessary, and everyone should follow their doctors' recommendations, if diabetes is "dealt with early" with the appropriate diet and lifestyle changes, "then a person can, if not prevent it, reverse it, and if not reverse it, manage it and live with it."
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