The World Health Organization estimates that a staggering 347 million people in the world have diabetes. Additionally, they predict that by 2030 diabetes will be 7th leading cause of death.
Amongst the millions of people who have the disease, there are a number of celebrities who share the same diagnosis. In the end, we are all human, but celebrities with diabetes are unique because they can give a public voice to this increasingly widespread disease.
Here are 9 celebrities that you might or might not have known have diabetes and what they are doing with their celebrity status to help others with the disease.
Salma Hayek – Actress – Gestational Diabetes
While pregnant with her daughter, Salma Hayek experienced gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that only affects pregnant women but can increase the chance of type 2 diabetes later in life. Salma’s family has a history of diabetes, and she wasn’t aware that the illness that she felt during pregnancy was diabetes until she got tested. She is now outspoken about the fact that she had the disease.
“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,” she told American Baby magazine
Nick Jonas – Singer/Actor – Type 1 Diabetes
Superstar Nick Jonas has suffered from type 1 diabetes since his diagnosis at the age of 13. The singer and actor has been an outspoken advocate for those suffering from the disease since he “came out” to fans about it, partnering with Bayer since 2008 as a diabetes ambassador.
“I’m in the best health I’ve been in, and I’m feeling really good about, not only my own life with Diabetes and having tools I can manage it with, but also about the message that I have, which is to try to be an encouragement,” Nick told ET Online.
You can read our expanded profile of Nick here.
Jay Cutler – Athlete – Type 1 Diabetes
Jay Cutler, a well known quarterback for the Chicago Bears, announced in 2008 that he had type 1 diabetes at the age of 24. He now volunteers with Dedicated to Diabetes to raise awareness about the disease. He has been able to continue his career in the NFL through tracking his blood sugar and the use of an insulin pump.
“It’s something you go to sleep with and you wake up with everyday,” Cutler, 29, told ESPN. “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. 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.
Bret Michaels – Singer – Type 1 Diabetes
Diagnosed when he was six-years-old, Bret Michaels did not let his juvenile diabetes get in the way of his rise to superstardom as the lead singer of Poison in the 1980s. “I loss use of my pancreas at 6 years old,” Bret says. “And it is a every day, nonstop battle.”
Bret keeps check on his blood sugar eight times a day. During concerts, his fellow band members are alert for signs that his blood sugar is too low and throw extended instrumental solos when needed, allowing Bret check his blood sugar and get a drink of orange juice backstage. He went to a camp for diabetic children at age 10, and continues to support camps for diabetic children through fundraisers.
Mary Tyler Moore – Actress – Type 1 Diabetes
With a late diagnosis at age 33, Mary Tyler Moore did not let that stop her from becoming a well-known name in television. “You’ve got to always plan,” Mary told USA Today in a 2009 interview. “It is a fact of life that if someone invites you out to dinner you have to think, ‘What are they going to be doing when they serve you dinner? How quickly are they going to get it on the table from the time I arrive? When should I take my shot? What should I eat of what’s available?’ “
Moore is the international chairperson of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, although her health has declined in recent years due to the diabetes. Friends report that at this time, the 79-year-old Moore is nearly blind.
Tom Hanks – Actor – Type 2 Diabetes
After dealing with high blood sugar for a number of years, Tom Hanks came out as diabetic in 2013. He had lost a lot of weight, and a talk show host commented on the weight loss. While Hanks finds the disease controllable, he commented that his constant weight gain and loss for different roles contributed to the onset of the disease.
Hanks once quipped, “My doctor said, ‘If you can weigh what you weighed in high school, you’ll essentially be completely healthy and not have Type 2 diabetes.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m going to have Type 2 diabetes then.'”
Larry King – Talk Show Host – Type 2 Diabetes
After having a heart attack in the 1980s and cleaning up his health habits, Larry King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the 1990s. Even though he was eating healthy and exercising, he still developed the disease, which runs in his family. As a Type A personality, he successfully learned to incorporate it into his routine, not letting it get in the way of his television success.
Larry helps support diabetes research and treatments through a star-studded fundraiser called The Carousel of Hope.
Paula Deen – Celebrity Chef – Type 2 Diabetes
Known for her high-fat, high-sugar comfort food recipes, Paula Deen publicly announced her type 2 diagnosis in 2012, though it had come three years prior. Deen received criticism for continuing to promote an unhealthy diet, and for announcing only after partnering with a pharmaceutical company. Despite this, she continues to live with the disease and has changed her recipes to make it easier to enjoy foods she loves but with less of the sugar and fat.
The recent scandal revolving around photos of her smoking haven’t won her any fans.
Randy Jackson – Musician/Entrepreneur – Type 2 Diabetes
Music industry celebrity Randy Jackson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003, when he was obese. He hadn’t thought about the disease until then, even though his dad had also been diagnosed at a later age. “I didn’t know I had diabetes until I wound up in the emergency room, thinking I had the flu,” he said. “My blood sugar was over 500.”
It took Randy months to get a handle on his diabetes, and he eventually went on to lose over 100 lbs in his quest to get healthier.
In 2014 Randy partnered with Everyday Health to create an informative package of consumer-facing digital resources on diabetes. The multimedia platform is called “Diabetes Step by Step.”