Academy award-winning actress Halle Berry and teenage rocker Nick Jonas have more than adoring fans in common – they both live with diabetes.
Find out how they deal with it and what symptoms you should be on the lookout for.
“I thought I could tough it out, but I couldn’t have been more wrong,” said Berry in an interview, “One day, I simply passed out, and I didn’t wake up for seven days, which is obviously very serious.”
Berry went into a diabetic coma in 1989 and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Today’s she’s an ambassador for the Diabetes Aware campaign and works to create awareness about undiagnosed diabetes in the US.
According to Diabetes SA, approximately 4-6 million people in South Africa are diabetic and many don’t know they have the condition!
For Nick Jonas, his type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 2005 came as a shock.
“For someone who had no bad medical history ever to suddenly have the shock of diabetes was a bit overwhelming in itself, and then I had to learn all about it,” said Jonas, member of the popular teenage band The Jonas Brothers. Now an ambassador for various diabetes awareness projects, Jonas has created public service announcements, commercials and even written a song to increase awareness about juvenile diabetes in the US.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolism disorder which affects the way food is broken down into glucose and absorbed by the body as fuel. Glucose is distributed through blood and can only be absorbed when a sufficient amount of the hormone insulin which is released by the pancreas after eating.
A person with diabetes either produces very little or no insulin and as a result the quantity of glucose in the blood is very high and the cells are not getting the fuel required. There are two types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetics usually have a genetic predisposition for developing the disease but the autoimmune process that destroys insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas is set off by an environmental trigger(s), like a childhood virus or autoimmune disease.
Type 1 diabetes develops most often in children and young adults but the disease can be diagnosed at any age. If left undiagnosed and without treatment, a person with type 1 diabetes can lapse into diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as a diabetic coma.
Type 2 diabetes is a result of an unhealthy lifestyle and is usually afflicts adults who are overweight and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Their bodies still produce insulin but it is unable to help the body’s cells use glucose for energy. Sadly, as obesity rates climb, more young adults and children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar but type 1 symptoms develop rapidly while type 2 diabetes symptoms are usually gradual. Common symptoms include the following…
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss (Usually only in Type 1 diabetes)
- Fatigue, or a feeling of being “run down” and tired
- Blurred vision (Usually only experienced in Type 2 diabetes)
- High blood pressure (Usually only experienced in Type 2 diabetes)
- Dry, itchy skin
- Tingling or burning pain in the feet, legs, hands, or other parts of the body
- Irritability, depression
- Frequent or recurring infections, such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and skin infections
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, ask our networked-registered healthcare professionals to test your blood sugar level. If diagnosed with diabetes, our healthcare professionals will prescribe medication and a balanced diet to help you manage the condition.
After their diagnosis’s, Halle Berry and Nick Jonas continued to pursue their passion for acting and singing respectably, proving that diabetes doesn’t have to be a stumbling block, it can be managed!