Celebrity chef Paula Deen announced in January 2012 that she has type 2 diabetes. Deen, well known for her buttery, sugary recipes, said that she learned she had the disease three years ago but hasn’t spoken publicly about it because she wasn't ready. But, she says, she wants "to let the world know that [diabetes] is not a death sentence.”
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008 after he lost 35 pounds and felt like he had no energy, according to media reports. But Cutler hasn't let diabetes sideline him. Cutler now wears an insulin pump, monitors his blood sugar, and has called his condition "manageable." Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which the body's immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar.
Bret Michaels, singer for the band Poison, manages diabetes while living the life of a rock star and television personality. Michaels was diagnosed at age 6. As an adult he takes "four insulin injections and eight blood tests each day," according to his web site. 2010 brought a series of health problems for Michaels, including a brain hemorrhage, yet he finished and won TV's The Celebrity Apprentice and pledged his $250,000 award to the American Diabetes Association.
Singer Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers went public with his type 1 diabetes in 2007. He has said that his symptoms included weight loss and thirst. When diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, his blood sugar was over 700 -- normal blood sugar levels are from 70 to 120. Jonas was hospitalized and learned to manage his type 1 diabetes. Once called juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes among people younger than 20, but it can strike at any age.
Actress Halle Berry has type 2 diabetes. Forget the gossip that Berry had "weaned" herself from insulin and switched from type 1 to type 2 diabetes -- that's not possible. Type 1 diabetes patients can't make insulin and require insulin injections for life. Some type 2 diabetes patients also need insulin shots, in addition to oral medications, to control blood sugar. But most people with type 2 diabetes can survive without insulin, unlike type 1 diabetes patients.
American Idol judge Randy Jackson learned he had type 2 diabetes in 2001. Back then, Jackson was obese, which makes type 2 diabetes more likely. Jackson was also at risk because diabetes ran in his family, and African Americans are more likely than whites to develop diabetes. Jackson has since gotten gastric bypass surgery, lost 100 pounds, improved his diet, and made exercise -- including walking on a treadmill and practicing yoga -- a staple of his life.
Actress Salma Hayek had gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that happens during pregnancy, while pregnant with her daughter, Valentina. Hayek has a family history of diabetes. Almost all women are screened for gestational diabetes when they are 24-28 weeks pregnant; high-risk women may be screened earlier. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, but it raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or getting gestational diabetes again.
Singer Patti LaBelle has type 2 diabetes. On her web site, LaBelle recalls her diagnosis. "I passed out on stage ... and the doctor came back to me and said, 'Did you know you were type 2 diabetic?' and I said, 'I had no idea,'" states LaBelle, who has a family history of diabetes. LaBelle has since written healthy cookbooks, and she exercises regularly. She called herself a "divabetic" -- that's a mix of diabetic and diva -- in People in December 2008.
Novelist Anne Rice didn't know she had diabetes until it nearly took her life in 1998, when she entered a diabetic coma. "I think I had a blood sugar reading of 800 or thereabouts, and I came within five to 15 minutes of dying," Rice states in a 1999 letter posted on her web site. From that crisis, Rice learned that she has type 1 diabetes. "I'll use insulin for the rest of my life," Rice states. "I have come to terms with it. ... Thousands of people live with it."
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who ran for president in 2008 and is now a TV show host on the Fox News Channel, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003. Afterward, Huckabee upgraded his diet and became a runner. His efforts paid off -- he shed 110 pounds, trimmed his BMI from obese to normal, and reversed his type 2 diabetes. Huckabee wrote a book about his transformation and promotes healthy living, starting in childhood.
Talk show host Larry King has type 2 diabetes. "It's definitely controllable," King has said on his show. Diabetes makes heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other serious health problems more likely. King had quintuple bypass heart surgery in 1987. Diabetes wasn't his only risk factor -- King had been a heavy smoker, and smoking hurts the heart. But by taking care of his diabetes (and quitting smoking), King helps his heart and the rest of his body.
Mary Tyler Moore
Actress Mary Tyler Moore has type 1 diabetes. Moore's diabetes was diagnosed at age 30, when she was hospitalized after suffering a miscarriage. A routine blood test done at the hospital showed a very high blood sugar level of 750. "They put me on insulin right away," Moore told CNN's Larry King in 2005. Now in her 70s, Moore has long been active in promoting diabetes research; she serves as the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
A standout singer who finished in third place on the fifth season of American Idol, Elliott Yamin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his mid-teens. Yamin has told interviewers that he was angry, embarrassed, and in denial about his diabetes back then. But Yamin, who wears an insulin pump, has matured into a role model for young adults with diabetes. In a 2007 interview with Parade, Yamin encouraged diabetes patients to "stay positive … and don't let the disease hold you back."
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