18 Famous People With Diabetes
It's estimated that one in three Americans will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are linked to genetic predisposition, the chances of developing type 2 diabetes are significantly higher if you don't follow a healthy lifestyle. But a 2013 Johns Hopkins study found that pre-diabetic people who lost 10 percent of their body weight within six months of diagnosis lowered their risk of developing diabetes. The good news is that in today’s world, diabetes doesn’t need to stop you. Here’s a list of famous people who have successfully managed their diabetes.
1. Tom Hanks
In 2013, Tom Hanks announced that he has type 2 diabetes on The Late Show with David Letterman. The 57-year-old actor has lost and gained weight for several movie roles, and weight gain is a factor that could lead to a diabetes diagnosis. “I was heavy. You've seen me in movies, you know what I looked like," he said in an interview with Radio Times. "I was a total idiot." The actor had to gain 30 pounds to play Jimmy Dugan in 1992’s “A League of Their Own,” and lost about 50 pounds for his role in 2000’s “Cast Away.”
2. Halle Berry
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While on the set of short-lived television show “Living Dolls” in 1989, actress Halle Berry collapsed into a week-long diabetic coma. "Diabetes caught me completely off guard," she said in an interview. Unfortunately, this isn't uncommon. It's estimated that seven million Americans are currently undiagnosed. Today Berry is healthy and is thankful she can manage her diabetes. “[Doctors] told me I could lose my eyesight, or I could lose my legs," Berry said in an interview with The Daily Mail. "I was scared to death. I thought I was going to die." The first thing Berry did was switch to a diet low in fat, sugar and processed carbohydrates.
3. Jay Cutler
This NFL quarterback has type 1 diabetes, and he says that taking care of his diabetes is like a full-time job. He takes insulin every day, eats right and has become a role model to kids with type 1 diabetes. "It's hard enough as a kid these days to feel normal and just try to fit in," Cutler said in a Yahoo! Sports interview. "To be a diabetic is just a dramatic thing to go through." Type 1 diabetics are diagnosed at a young age, as their bodies need insulin injections to function properly.
4. Bret Michaels
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The former frontman of 80s glam metal band Poison was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was only six years old. Michaels, who admits that managing his diabetes has not always been an easy task, has said, “I have great days and I have bad days. I want to say, look, there are complications, and it is a tough disease to manage, but I've done it, and I live a ridiculously outrageous, crazy life.” His advice for other people with diabetes? “Find that one thing [that motivates you]. Like making sure I'm around to watch my daughters grow up.”
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5. Salma Hayek
Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek was diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant with her daughter, Valentina. Gestational diabetes occurs in two to 10 percent of pregnant women, it usually goes away after pregnancy. It can occur halfway throughout a pregnancy as a result of excessive hormone production in the body and a build up of insulin resistance. And you don't need a family history of diabetes to be diagnosed with it. However, Hayek still has a risk of developing type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes later in life and, she’s revealed that diabetes runs in her family.
6. Randy Jackson
In 2002 at 300 pounds, music producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson was diagnosed with diabetes. Jackson lost 100 pounds after gastric bypass surgery and maintains his weight loss and manages his diabetes with healthy eating and regular exercise. Being overweight is one of the top risks that can contribute to the development of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, even losing 10 to 15 pounds could make a big difference for your health.
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7. Billie Jean King
Former professional tennis champion Billie Jean King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 63. She stated that she used to be a binge eater and that diabetes runs in her family. “Anyone can develop diabetes, even an athlete,” King said in an interview. Now she tests her blood sugar twice a day, takes medication and exercises often to keep her diabetes under control.
8. Chaka Khan
After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011, singer Chaka Khan lost 60 pounds on a vegan diet. She credited a plant-based eating plan with helping her to get off diabetes medication. Sixty-year-old Khan had type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, so she decided to radically change her lifestyle so that she would around to take care of her granddaughter.
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9. Paul Sorvino
Italian actor Paul Sorvino was shocked by his type 2 diabetes diagnosis. “I play tennis and I work out and have been working out all my life. I don't do drugs or drink much. I eat very well,” he said in an interview. He was diagnosed after feeling tired and thirsty for an extended period of time. Sorvino now uses a slow-release insulin pen and medication to keep his blood sugar on an even keel, while still watching what he eats. Sorvino isn't alone: It's estimated that over a quarter of the U.S. population 65 and older has diabetes. If you're in that age group, make sure to talk to your doctor about it. Over time, untreated diabetes can damage your eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves and kidneys.
10. Patti LaBelle
This Grammy award-winning songstress calls herself “divabetic” because she’s tackled her diabetes diagnosis by staying strong and changing her diet. LaBelle says that diabetes runs in her family and that she has taken an active role to curb her symptoms. Now, she works out in her pool, walks with a trainer and eats much healthier than she once did. Some of the cooking changes that helped the singer and cookbook author manage her diabetes include sautéing instead of frying and using spices and herbs instead of butter. She also enjoys turkey burgers, grilled chicken, egg whites and oatmeal.
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11. Sherri Shepherd
This former cohost of The View regained control of her diabetes and lost 40 pounds while doing it. She said that after her diagnosis, she was scared skinny. "My mom died of diabetes complications when she was 41. When I was 40, my doctor told me, 'I don't know when you're going to have a stroke, but it's going to happen.' That was my wake-up call,” she said in an interview. She began working out regularly with a trainer and eating better. Approximately 75 percent of people with diabetes will die of heart disease or stroke. They are also likely to die younger than people who do not have diabetes.
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12. Larry King
Talk show host Larry King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1995. He says he tries to keep his regular exercise fun so that he continues to do it. His favorite way to stay active? Dance! “I like swing, a lot of the Latin dances, and I like to dance to Sinatra,” he said in an interview. He also eats healthy and tries to eat what he loves, as this makes eating healthy a lot easier for him. Some of his favorite foods include blueberries, which are easy to incorporate into pretty much any meal of the day.
13. Vanessa Williams
Former broadway star and Miss America Vanessa Williams has supported many diabetes charities since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She is also the author of the diabetes book for children, Healthy Child. A former dancer, Williams stays active through a variety of options. "I really enjoy moving my body, whether it's Tae Bo, going to a salsa club, or doing weight training with a trainer," she told WebMD.
14. Drew Carey
Drew Carey was able to stop taking his diabetes medication after an 80-pound weight loss. "Once I started dropping a couple pant sizes, then it was easy," he told People magazine. "’Cause once you see the results, then you don’t wanna stop," said Carey. The host of The Price Is Right stays in shape by cutting out carbohydrates most of the time, eating eggs and Greek yogurt and keeping up with his daily exercise routine.
15. David “Boomer” Wells
Former MLB left-handed pitcher David Wells changed his lifestyle to get his diabetes in check. When he was diagnosed in 2007, he quit drinking alcohol and cut out many starches and bad carbs. "From the time I found out, I made changes," he told The San Diego Union Tribune. "No more starches and sugar. No more rice, pasta, potatoes and white bread. No more fast food. I've cut out alcohol."
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16. Nick Jonas
The youngest of the Jonas Brothers, Nick, went public about his type 1 diabetes in 2007. He experienced thirst and weight loss before he took control of his diabetes. Jonas has shared that managing his diabetes was a little bit overwhelming at first, but that with the support of his family and friends, the process became a lot easier. He had to very quickly adapt his lifestyle to match his health needs. Because Nick is insulin dependent, he wears an insulin pump.
17. Nick Boynton
This Stanley-cup winning NHL player has type 1 diabetes. During his first year at the NHL’s Boston Bruins training camp, Boynton experienced extreme thirst and weight loss. Now, he's a role model to young diabetics and keeps his diabetes in check with medication and a healthy lifestyle.
18. Charlie Kimball
Charlie Kimball is the first licensed driver with diabetes to win an INDYCAR race. Kimball was diagnosed in 2007, and it almost caused him to give up racing. He takes insulin with a pre-filled pen before a race, and Kimball watches his diet and uses a monitor that tracks his blood sugar levels to ensure his diabetes is managed before and during his time on the race track.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you or someone you know have diabetes? Is it type 1 or type 2? How do you/they manage it? Are you concerned about the type 2 diabetes epidemic in America? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on the comments section below.
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