If you live with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, you’re definitely not alone. Over 30 million people in the U.S. – almost 10 percent of Americans – have been diagnosed with diabetes. Among them are a long list of celebrities with diabetes. Here are some of their success stories.
Halle Berry turned lots of heads when she showed up in front of the cameras rocking a stylish medical ID bracelet for diabetes. After all, in films such as X-Men, Monster’s Ball, and Die Another Day, the American actress helped bring fashionable medical ID jewelry to the forefront when she went public discussing her diabetes diagnosis.
Although Berry was surprised by her diagnosis at first, she refused to let her diabetes define her. Berry basically cut sugars and carbs out completely, focusing on healthy fats such as avocado oil and coconut oil that are easily processed by the body.
“My diet is geared towards managing my diabetes, so I try to eat four small meals a day. I like to feel strong and healthy,” she mentioned to the Huffington Post.
Nick Jonas, beloved teen heartthrob from the Jonas Brothers, is one of the biggest celebrities with Type 1 Diabetes. He was diagnosed with diabetes only a few weeks before going on tour, at the age of 13. What’s the biggest lesson the superstar has learned about dealing with Type 1 Diabetes?
After admitting to being a perfectionist, he told Diabetes Daily: “I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life … is that you really cannot be perfect with this disease. The minute you accept that, the weight is lifted off of your life.” Nick has also learned the importance of always being prepared, keeping his diabetes supplies and “low snacks” just off stage in the event he experiences a low during a performance.
In 2007, Salma Hayek developed gestational diabetes while pregnant with her daughter Valentina. She was shocked. Looking back, Hayek says she, like many women, did not have all the right information to properly manage her gestational diabetes, “I didn’t know that eating fruit that is high in sugar is not recommended when you have gestational diabetes,” she told Parents magazine.
Because gestational diabetes carries risk of pre-term delivery and maternal hypoglycemia (among other challenges), it is extremely important for pregnant women to be tested, allowing for proper treatment and monitoring.
Like many famous people with diabetes, it hasn’t always been easy for actress Sharon Stone to speak in public about her Type 1 Diabetes and the daily insulin injections she requires. She’s still able to stay fit and look great – all with a big smile on her face. “I eat right, I sleep, I work out, I’m happy. I choose the good things,” she said in an interview with E! News.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. For people with Type 1, such as Stone, constant blood glucose monitoring is a daily necessity, as are insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump.
In addition to carefully keeping tabs on her blood sugar and following her insulin treatment, the actress continues to take good care of her health by exercising regularly.
Jean Smart has had a long and successful career in acting, appearing in major television series such as Designing Women, Frasier, 24, and Legion. Born in 1951 and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 13, Smart has lived with diabetes through an era of great progress in daily diabetes management. For instance, wearable insulin pumps were not invented until the 1970s and not widely available until the 1980s. The first Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) were introduced in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition in which the body either becomes insulin-resistant or stops producing enough insulin. It is a serious condition that used to be referred to commonly as, “Adult-Onset Diabetes.” This serious condition has a variety of warning signs such as blurry vision, abnormally frequent urination, and unusual fatigue. Sometimes Type 2 Diabetes is fully manageable through diet and lifestyle changes, but people with Type 2 may also require insulin therapy.
After ignoring high blood sugar levels for years, the actor joked that his doctor finally told him: “You know those high blood sugar numbers you’ve been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you’ve graduated! You’ve got Type 2 Diabetes, young man.” Fortunately, the Castaway star has decided to say no to rapid weight gain and loss extremes for Hollywood and give his health priority.
How does talented Grammy-nominated singer, actress, writer, and mom Vanessa Williams manage to balance everything with Type 1 Diabetes? For one thing, she likes to stick to a schedule that includes enough time for taking care of herself.
And while she’s tough on rules during everyday occasions, Williams also knows when it’s OK to relax a little, according to an interview with WebMD: “I enjoy food. I enjoy good wine … So, especially when I travel, I always try to eat what’s local and what’s good. I try not to overindulge, and if I do, I have enough discipline to get back on the routine to better health.”
When former American Idol judge Randy Jackson was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, he weighed around 350 pounds and didn’t exercise much. “Like a lot of men, I wasn’t going to the doctor’s very often,” he revealed to Health magazine.
When he learned about the dangerous potential consequences – heart disease, nerve damage, and even blindness – Jackson changed his diet right away, and set a goal of doing at least 10 minutes of exercise every day. Eventually, Jackson and his health care providers chose gastric bypass surgery to further his weight loss, which helped him drop more than 100 pounds.
Not all celebrities with Type 2 Diabetes make changes right away. Former co-host of The View, Sherri Shepherd knew about her Type 2 Diabetes for a whole year before doing anything about it. What eventually prompted her to take things more seriously? Her kids.
“I had this vision of my son, Jeffrey, who was 2 then, lying on his bed and crying because he was trying to figure out where heaven was. Because that’s where everyone said Mommy was,” the celebrity revealed to Diabetes Forecast magazine.
Realizing that she needed to take care of herself first in order to take good care of her family, Shepherd now keeps tabs on her diet and exercise with the help of a personal trainer and a nutritionist.
Folk rock singer Crystal Bowersox was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was about 6 years old. Determined not to let that stop her, Bowersox made it onto American Idol’s ninth season. But the hectic chaos backstage eventually made her forget to keep an eye on her diabetes.
During her time on American Idol, Bowersox went into Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and was hospitalized. There, she begged the show’s producers to stay. “I cried and said, ‘No way I’ve come this far to let diabetes stop me!’” the singer told Diabetes Mine.
The success Bowersox has had post-Idol has helped her become a Diabetes advocate who can finally afford to properly care for herself through use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump, true necessities which were not previously available to her.
She recalls, “I have been in the position of begging for insulin. I was 21, 22 — playing in subways all day. I had no insurance and that’s what it came to. No one should have to go through that.”
Reach Your Own Stars
Whether a famous actress or a newly diagnosed teen, adjusting to life with diabetes always comes with challenges in adapting to a new normal. We love seeing these celebrity advocates living their best lives and raising awareness! Who inspires you to live your best life?