Celebrities with diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes doesn't have to mean the end of the world. If you recognise the symptoms early and learn to manage the condition well, you can lead a long, happy and fulfilled life.

Even the rich and famous are affected by diabetes, but it doesn't stop them from achieving their goals. Take a look at our list of diabetic celebrities who are proof that life with diabetes can still be sweet...

1. Halle Berry
Actress Halle Berry was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1989 when she went into a diabetic coma while filming a TV show. She was only 22 years old at the time but she took control of her health and went on to star in a variety of roles. She was honoured in 2002 with an Oscar award for her role in Monster’s Ball. To date she is the only black woman to win the Best Actress Award at the Oscars.

Halle sparked some controversy when she announced in 2007 that she had “weaned” herself off insulin and switched from type 1 to type 2 diabetes. Doctors declared that it’s impossible as type 1 diabetes patients can’t make insulin at all and need insulin injections for life. It is believed that she most likely was misdiagnosed with type 1 diabetes and really had type 2 diabetes the whole time.

2. Salma Hayek
When actress Salma Hayek was pregnant with her daughter, Valentina, she developed gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy when hormone changes prevent insulin from working properly.

Women with gestational diabetes usually need to take insulin, and the condition mostly goes away after giving birth. It does, however, raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or getting gestational diabetes again. Salma has a family history of diabetes, which means she will have to take extra care of her health.

3. Drew Carey
Actor, comedian and game show host Drew Carey is best-known for his sitcom The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway, a highly popular improvisational TV show that features Drew and other comedians.

Drew has suffered from type 2 diabetes for a number of years and needed to lose weight to improve his health. In 2010 he revealed a healthier version of himself, having lost 36kg and dropped from size 44 pants to size 33/34 with diet and exercise.

Since losing all that weight, Drew also claims that he no longer needs to take any medication to treat his type 2 diabetes.

4. Larry King
Award-winning talk show host Larry King had a big health scare in 1987 when he suffered a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery. This inspired him to stop smoking and to follow a healthier lifestyle, but despite the changes he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the mid-90s.

Though Larry’s aunt had diabetes, it was “just another word for him” and he never gave diabetes another thought, until he was diagnosed with the disease himself. His habits were smoking, not caring what I ate, no exercise at all".

"And I never thought it would happen to me,” he said in an interview with Diabetes Forecast.

Today, Larry says: “I take the medication. I have my checkups. I exercise a lot, every other day. I do the treadmill and a lot of fast walking. I take my Glucophage and my Januvia, which is fairly new. I’ve been taking it for two or three years. I try to reduce my sugar intake a great deal, but I still manage to have a bagel every other day. There have been two or three times in the last 15 years when I got lightheaded.

"Once I was on the air. My guest was Betty Ford. She asked me if I was OK. I guess I got a little pale. It was happening about three quarters of the way through the programme. And I broke for commercial, and I thought I was going to faint. They brought me some orange juice and it passed. I knew what it was.”

5. Billy Jean King
Billy Jean King is one of the most successful tennis players in the history of the sport. The US-born tennis player won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon. She is also a big advocate against sexism, on and off the tennis court.

In 1973 she empowered women and educated men when she defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history – the Battle of the Sexes. This match is remembered for its effect on society and its contribution to the women’s movement. She proved that female athletes were just as capable as men and had the right to earn comparable money in tennis and other sports.

The tennis legend was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007. As her family has a long history of diabetes, the diagnosis did not really surprise her. Today she is an active spokeswoman for diabetes and involved in numerous campaigns to raise awareness. She also established the Novo Nordisk Donnelly awards in 1998 to encourage children with diabetes to lead an active life and to compete in tennis.

6. Nick Jonas
Nick Jonas, the youngest member of the teen trio, The Jonas Brothers, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005 when was 13 years old. During the months before his diagnosis he experienced weight loss, was thirsty all the time, constantly had to go to the bathroom and had a bad attitude.

"It was insane,” recalls Nick. "I had a terrible attitude, which was totally odd for me because I'm actually a nice person. Especially being on the road around people all the time, you have to keep that positive energy going. And it was hard."

His constant thirst along with his moodiness prompted Nick to go to the doctor. It was discovered that his blood sugar was over 700 - normal blood sugar levels are from 70 to 120 and he was hospitalised right away.

“I wondered ‘why me?’ a lot in the beginning,” says Nick. “Then I started to think, this is a new challenge, a new step in life and a way to reach more people, so why not me?”

Today he wears an OmniPod insulin pump and continues to lead a normal healthy lifestyle. He also wrote a special song called “A little bit longer”, which expresses his feelings about being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

To newly diagnosed kids with diabetes, Nick has the following advice: "Don't let it slow you down at all. I made a promise to myself on the way to the hospital that I wouldn't let this thing slow me down and I'd just keep moving forward, and that's what I did. Just keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward with it. Don't be discouraged."

7. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley was the world’s first rock and roll star. He completely revolutionised the world of Western pop music and is seen by many people as the greatest rock icon of the 20th century. He starred in over 30 films, made over 500 live appearances, sold over one billion records and won three Grammy Awards (having received a total of 14 Grammy nominations). Even in death, this iconic figure is still one of the most influential artists in history.

Despite his fame, few people know that the King of Rock and Roll suffered from diabetes. Not much is known about his disease, including which type, except from a few reports that the singer gave himself insulin shots.

Some people speculate that he intentionally kept it a secret, while others say that he simply handled his diabetes so well that it was never worth commenting on. This last point, however, is debatable as his unhealthy lifestyle and weight gain in the years before his death could have done nothing but aggravate his condition.

Elvis also suffered from many other health problems (including insomnia, depression and an addiction to illicit and prescription drugs) and his cause of death, at the age of 42, was ruled a heart attack.

Today, Elvis Presley Enterprises (a corporate entity created by The Elvis Presley Trust ) helps to raise awareness for diabetes by holding fundraisers that benefit the American Diabetes Association.

8. Sharon Stone
Actress Sharon Stone shot to international stardom in 1992 with her role in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. In 1995 she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her performance in Casino.

The actress suffers from type 1 diabetes, which must be controlled using daily insulin injections. She also suffers from asthma and had a brain aneurysm in 2001, which left many of her fans worried.

Judging from all her achievements and busy lifestyle, though, she doesn't let her diabetes and asthma restrict her in any way. She's an inspiration to many people with these two conditions worldwide.

The actress is also actively involved in charity work and awareness campaigns and often does fundraisers for the Carousel of Hope, which raises millions of dollars every year towards childhood diabetes research.

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