By Matt Hickman
Thu, Jan 19 2012 at 3:49 PM EST
Now that greasy-handed, giggle-prone celebrity chef Paula Deen has finally emerged from her butter-lined closet and announced to the world that, yes, she does indeed have Type 2 diabetes, all eyes are on other famous folks who also have high blood sugar levels. Among celebrities, diabetes, particularly Type 2 or adult onset diabetes, isn’t exactly a rarity. In fact, a 2007 ABC News article dubbed the sometimes-deadly chronic disorder as the “affliction of the stars.” Celebs aside, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2010, around 26 million Americans have a form of the disease, primarily Type 2, while a whopping 79 million adults in the U.S. are living with pre-diabetes.
Most of us know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but here’s a quick refresher: Type 1, often referred to as juvenile diabetes, occurs when the pancreas is unable to naturally produce a hormone known as insulin that keeps blood glucose levels in check. When a person is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, usually at a young age, they are required to inject insulin to survive. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for upwards of 85 percent of diabetes cases, occurs when the pancreas is capable of producing insulin but something goes haywire and the cells resist it. Type 2 diabetes is often brought on by lack of exercise, obesity, heart disease and eating all those delicious, not-very-nutritious goodies that Paula Deen cooks. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, someone with adult onset diabetes may not need to inject insulin and can treat the disorder through exercise, diet change and medications along with careful blood glucose monitoring.
Now that we’ve got diabetes 101 out of the way, here’s a look at 15 bold face names, aside from the obvious, who are living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. As you’ll see, these celebs, instead of being stigmatized by the disease, are using their star power to advocate and educate, often by teaming up with organizations like the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
And since there aren’t only 15 famous folks out there with diabetes, we’ve also included a list of notable diabetics, both living and dead (you can find even more here).
Sure, he has a knack for making preteen girls scream like banshees, but Nick Jonas — tousle-haired baby brother to Joe and Kevin — has used his fame to do more than make your sixth-grade cousin Madison faint while watching the Kids’ Choice Awards. Nineteen-year-old Nick, a seasoned Broadway performer, former love interest of Miley Cyrus and solo artist outside of his regular duties with the Jonas Brothers, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13. Since 2007, he has tirelessly campaigned for juvenile diabetes awareness by partnering with numerous charities, testifying before the U.S. Senate in an effort to increase funding for the condition and acting as an ambassador for Bayer Diabetes Care. Says Nick on the website for the Jonas Brothers’ charitable foundation called Change for the Children: “The fact that I’m able to have somewhat of a spotlight to share my story, I just feel blessed. I carry a supply of guitar picks in my pocket, and whenever I meet another ‘diabetic buddy’ as I call them, I give them a pick, a cool little thing.”
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