Diabetes is a chronic disease in which excess sugar builds up in the bloodstream because the body struggles to make or use insulin, a sugar-controlling hormone. It leads to symptoms such as excessive thirst, weight loss, blurry vision and fatigue.
With Type 1 diabetes, which usually happens earlier on in life, the pancreas can't produce insulin. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes tends to show up in adulthood and happens when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or fails to use it properly.
Some women also develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Hormonal changes and weight gain during this period sometimes make it hard for a woman's body to produce enough insulin, so her blood sugar levels rise.
According to the World Health Organization, around 422 million people worldwide are living with a diabetes diagnosis. In recognition of World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, Yahoo Canada has gathered a list of 10 celebrities who have shared their experiences with the disease.
Nick Jonas was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13 after he suddenly lost nine kilograms (20 pounds) in a matter of weeks. The "Sucker" singer has since been outspoken about his diabetes journey, saying, "This was a scary kind of reality that I had to face, but not something where I was going to, for a single second, let it slow me down."
He recently received the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation's Golden Glove Award for his advocacy and is working with the Time in Range campaign to encourage people with diabetes to regularly monitor their blood glucose levels.
Soon after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 22, Halle Berry adopted a keto diet and has maintained it ever since. "Because I'm diabetic, nutrition has been a big part of my life," she told Insider. In 2004, the "Catwoman" actress became an ambassador for the National Diabetes Education program, and, in 2020, she launched an app intended to help promote wellness and weight loss.
Tom Hanks was in the midst of a flourishing career when he received his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2013. While appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman," the "Forrest Gump" actor explained that he experienced symptoms of high blood sugar for 20 years before he received an official diagnosis of diabetes. He has since said that he believes his poor food choices were to blame, even referring to himself as a "total idiot."
Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi has dealt with Type 1 diabetes since he was first diagnosed at age 12. Following his diagnosis, he spent a week in a children's hospital to learn how to manage his disease, but his diagnosis didn't prevent him from pursuing his dream to become a professional hockey player. When the Winnipeg native is not busy playing in the NHL, Domi works as an advocate with Ascensia Diabetes Care.
Meghan Trainor developed gestational diabetes at the age of 26 while pregnant. Since gestational diabetes carries risks for both the mother and the baby, the "All About That Bass" singer said she and her husband altered their diets for the remainder of her pregnancy. Her son, Riley, was born in February 2021.
When Salma Hayek was pregnant at the age of 41, she knew that there were some inherent risks. One complication she faced was her gestational diabetes, which she said caused severe nausea throughout her entire pregnancy. She gave birth to a healthy daughter, Valentina, in 2007.
Sherri Shepherd received her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2007, which prompted her to start monitoring her health and taking better care of herself. "Diabetes saved my life. It literally changed my life for the better," the actress and comedian told Yahoo Life in 2020.
Shepherd's mother had previously died of complications from diabetes, but she still struggled to accept the severity of the disease. Today, the TV personality focuses on eating healthier meals and exercising regularly.
Billy Porter has faced multiple health challenges over the years. In 2021, he revealed he was diagnosed with not only Type 2 diabetes but also HIV in 2007. However, he says his diagnosis has actually made him more healthy: "I go to the doctor, and I know what's going on in my body. I'm the healthiest I've been in my entire life."
Lila Moss has followed in the footsteps of her famous mom, Kate Moss, but she has also made her own mark on the fashion landscape. During an appearance at Milan Fashion Week and a recent fashion campaign, Lila proudly wore her insulin pump, proving to the world that no one should be ashamed of a diabetes diagnosis. The model was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 12-years-old.
Alexandra Park may be most familiar to audiences as Princess Eleanor on "The Royals," but her memoir isn't centred on her rise to fame. Titled "Sugar High," Park's book focuses instead on her experience with Type 1 diabetes, a diagnosis she received at the age of 23, just before her life-changing casting. She has openly expressed her hope that the book will help people with diabetes feel less alone.
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Singer Nick Jonas is raising awareness of the most common indicators of Type 1 diabetes to look out for, and sharing the symptoms he had before his diagnosis.
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