Nick Jonas discusses juvenile diabetes at The National Press Club on August 24, 2009. Paul Morigi/WireImage/Getty Images
Nick Jonas wrote a song about his type 1 diagnosis, “A Little Bit Longer.”
Nick Jonas. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Vanity Fair
For people with diabetes, the body does not properly process food so that it can be turned into energy. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body cannot produce insulin, a hormone that allows the body to convert sugar from food into energy, and this can cause dangerously high blood sugar levels.
Jonas was diagnosed when he was just 13 years old. He wrote about his diagnosis in a 2018 Instagram post of two pictures of him side by side — one right after he was diagnosed in 2005 and one in 2018.
“13 years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The picture on the left is me a few weeks after my diagnosis. Barely 100 pounds after having lost so much weight from my blood sugar being so high before going to the doctor where I would find out I was diabetic,” he wrote.
“On the right is me now. Happy and healthy. Prioritizing my physical health, working out and eating healthy and keeping my blood sugar in check. I have full control of my day to day life with this disease, and I’m so grateful to my family and loved ones who have helped me every step of the way. Never let anything hold you back from living your best life,” he continued.
Salma Hayek was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2007 while pregnant with her daughter.
Salma Hayek. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
When diabetes is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy, it’s called gestational diabetes. Hayek had gestational diabetes while pregnant with her daughter, Valentina, in 2007.
“I got gestational diabetes, which I didn’t realize at first,” Hayek told Parents in 2008. “It occurs in women who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. I didn’t know whether I was feeling bad because I was pregnant or whether something was seriously wrong. I was nauseated for nine months, which can be one of the symptoms.”
Tom Hanks thinks he developed type 2 because – in his words – he was “a total idiot.”
Tom Hanks. Dominik Bindl/FilmMagic/Getty Images
In those with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance builds up over time, and lifestyle factors may play a part.
Hanks first revealed his diagnosis in 2013 during an appearance on “The Tonight Show with David Letterman.”
“I went to the doctor, and he said, ‘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,'” Hanks said.
In a 2016 interview with the Radio Times, he added: “I’m part of the lazy American generation that has blindly kept dancing through the party and now finds ourselves with a malady.”
“I was heavy. You’ve seen me in movies, you know what I looked like. I was a total idiot,” he continued.
“My doctor says if I can hit a target weight, I will not have type 2 diabetes anymore,” he added.
Paula Deen’s public disclosure of her diabetes diagnosis in 2012 rubbed some people the wrong way.
Paula Deen. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Deen kept her diagnosis a secret from everyone, including the Food Network, for three years — all while promoting her famously decadent recipes.
In 2012, the celebrity chef announced a partnership with Novo Nordisk, which doubled as her announcement of her diagnosis. It rubbed some of her contemporaries the wrong way, like the late chef Anthony Bourdain, who told Eater in 2012: “When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you’ve been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you’ve got type 2 diabetes, it’s in bad taste if nothing else.”
At the time of her announcement, Deen said, “I know there will be criticism of me. I’ve had criticism since day one, and everyone is entitled to their opinion […] but I can’t let someone take me down or discourage me. I have a mission, and I’m going to see that mission through.”
Randy Jackson wrote about his type 2 diagnosis in his 2008 book, “Body With Soul.”
Randy Jackson. Rich Polk/Getty Images for Bethesda
“It’s a curse to be saddled with a disease that’s life threatening and that you can’t completely get rid of (though you can certainly manage it). But it’s a blessing to get that huge wake-up call,” Jackson wrote in 2008.
In the book, he revealed he had been diagnosed back in 1999 after a trip to the emergency room.
“For five long days I had been feeling sick in the craziest kind of way — extremely tired, extremely thirsty, all sweaty and dizzy. It felt like I had a really bad cold or the flu, and although I had taken everything from aspirin to cold medicine to try and make myself feel better, nothing had helped,” he recalled. “My doctor had ordered a series of tests, including one that would determine the level of sugar in my blood. A short time later, I got the bad news. ‘It’s kind of what I thought,’ my doctor told me. ‘You have type 2 diabetes. Your blood sugar is over 500.'”
Tennis legend Billie Jean King was diagnosed with type 2 in 2007, and she said she felt “well-prepared” to handle it.
Billie Jean King. Greg Allen/Invision/AP
“When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago, I felt well-prepared,” King wrote for the Huffington Post in 2007. “My blood sugar started to get elevated and I tracked it with my doctor and I knew I had to make some changes in my life. Like so many people, I have battled with my weight for years, and I realized this was a factor I must address as well.”
“For me, managing my diabetes has been all about making smart food choices without depriving myself of the foods I love — maintaining a healthy relationship with food,” she wrote in another blog post that year. “Eating provides critical fuel for our bodies and is meant to be pleasurable. I think it is important people relax, focus on choosing healthy foods, but most importantly, enjoy what you’re eating.”
Poison’s Bret Michaels was diagnosed with type 1 when he was just 6 years old.
Bret Michaels. Gary Miller/Getty Images
“No doubt when I got diagnosed at 6 I was really, really sick. I was going into keto-acidosis and it was a pretty scary time of my life, but I was so young so even when I was in the hospital I was totally having fun,” Michaels told Parents in 2010.
“I think it was a blessing because it helped me in this sense: it really gave me a sense of self — the way my parents taught me, a sense of self-confidence, to be aware of my body, to know what’s going on with my body, to be able to know that eating right and exercising and all that stuff would play a big factor in my life — and a life or death factor in my life,” he continued.
Jay Cutler learned to balance type 1 with the rigors of the NFL.
Jay Cutler. Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Cutler was diagnosed in 2008 when he was 24.
“It’s something you go to sleep with and you wake up with everyday,” Cutler told ESPN in 2012. “It’s not something that you can just be like ‘Hey, I’m going to take a day off here and I’ll catch back up with it tomorrow.’ It’s difficult to deal with.”
He continued: “I think more than anything over the past three, four, five years is I’ve changed my diet a lot. I think that’s made the biggest impact on me being able to control my numbers and being able to control diabetes.”
Sherri Shepherd said that getting diagnosed with type 2 may have saved her life.
Sherri Shepherd. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Shepherd had experience with diabetes growing up. Two of her sisters also have diabetes, and her mother died of complications due to diabetes.
“If I didn’t have diabetes, I would probably be at the International House of Pancakes eating a stack of pancakes with butter and syrup,” Shepherd told USA Today in 2013. “I would probably be 250 pounds. I would not be going to the doctor,” she added.
But after she was diagnosed, she changed her diet and exercise regimen.
“I feel really healthy,” she said. “I have so much energy. I want to live and I’m going to beat this thing. I feel so blessed.”
Patti LaBelle said that, before her type 2 diagnosis, she never went to the doctor.
Patti LaBelle. Anna Webber/Getty Images
LaBelle’s family was affected by diabetes, as well.
“My mother had amputations and my aunt, she became blind,” she told ABC News in 2017. “When I was diagnosed [in 1995], that was a wake-up call to stop frying the chicken.”
“Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I never saw a doctor for anything,” she told Essence in 2020. “And when I passed out on stage that night and went to the hospital, the doctor said ‘You’re a type 2 diabetic.’ I said, ‘Oh, really?’ I would never find that out because I would stay at home. I knew it existed in the family. But I said, ‘not me.’ I tell all of my friends, please check yourself before you wreck yourself — go to a doctor.”
George Lucas found out he had type 2 during a physical before he was drafted to fight in Vietnam.
George Lucas. Getty Images
According to Diabetes UK, Lucas was 23 years old when he was drafted for the Vietnam War. During a physical, a doctor told him he had type 2 diabetes and therefore couldn’t join the Army.
Halle Berry was also diagnosed with diabetes in her 20s.
Halle Berry. Pool/Getty Images
Berry spoke about to Variety in 2020 about living with diabetes during the pandemic.
“I do feel at risk,” she said. “I’m very strict about quarantining and who is in my bubble. We have a whole section of the house: When you go out in the world and buy something, it has to sit in this purgatory.”
James Earl Jones was diagnosed with type 2 in the ’90s, but he didn’t share his diagnosis for two decades.
James Earl Jones. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jones revealed his diagnosis in 2016 after 20 years.
“I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in the 1990s,” the “Star Wars” actor told Healthline in 2016. “I was attending a program for diet and exercise, trying to lose some weight. Actors regularly take time off to lose weight for roles you’re playing. I fell asleep one day while sitting on a bench in a gymnasium, and a doctor who happened to be there saw me and said, ‘That isn’t normal.'”
He explained that he didn’t have the time until recently to speak about his health.
“I’ve been working steadily for 60 or 70 years now and haven’t had time to commit myself to talking more about it publicly. But suddenly I’ve had more time to do it and this [talking about my diabetes] is something I really wanted to do,” he said.
Lea DeLaria spent a decade not going to the doctor because she couldn’t afford it. Once “Orange Is the New Black” happened, she went and discovered she had type 2 diabetes, among other things.
Lea DeLaria. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE
DeLaria told SELF in 2018 that “for a period of about a decade, I didn’t really go to the doctor. If I was sick or didn’t feel well — I couldn’t afford it.”
Once she was cast in “OITNB,” she was able to go to the doctor, where she found out she had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2. She said that she was “knocking on death’s door” when she finally was able to get a check-up.
“I always have to watch [my diabetes]. I have to be there for it. I have to take my medication. I have to eat right,” she said. “Now, I can just have a piece of cake every now and then if I feel like it.”
Gabourey Sidibe’s type 2 diagnosis led to her decision to get weight-loss surgery in 2016.
Gabourey Sidibe. Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images
Sidibe shared her decision to get laparoscopic bariatric surgery with People in 2016, a year after she had gotten the procedure.
“I just didn’t want to worry,” she said. “I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes. I genuinely [would] worry all the time about losing my toes.”
Chaka Khan became a vegan after getting diagnosed with type 2.
Chaka Khan. David Crotty / Contributor / Getty Images
“My weight loss had to occur, because I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I also had high blood pressure. And I’ve been on medication for that since last year until the beginning of this year. And I ended up going, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, this is enough. I can’t live like this,'” she told Huffington Post in 2012.
“What I did was stopped eating and went on a strict unconditional fast for a couple of months. And went off meat, became vegan, stopped all the dairy, stopped all the meat,” she continued.
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