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18 Famous People with Diabetes

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author image Crissy VM
Crissy is an eHow editor specializing in DIY Crafts and Outdoors.

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18 Famous People with Diabetes
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that one in three Americans will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050. Of the two types of diabetes (1 and 2), Type 2 is the more manageable and also most preventable. Although genetic predisposition is linked to both types of diabetes, the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes are significantly higher if you do not follow a healthy lifestyle. Many studies indicate that obesity is the strongest risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetic people who lose 10 percent of their body weight within 6 months of diagnosis have a dramatically lower risk of getting affected by Type 2 diabetes, a 2013 Johns Hopkins study claims. But the good news is that in today’s world, diabetes doesn’t need to stop you. Here’s a list of famous people who have successfully managed their diabetes.

1. Tom Hanks
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1 TOM HANKS

In 2013, Tom Hanks announced that he has Type 2 diabetes on The Late Show with David Letterman. The 57-year-old actor has lost and gained weight for many movie roles, and weight gain is a factor that could lead to a positive diabetes diagnosis. “Gaining and losing of weight may have had something to do with this,” he said in an interview. The actor had to gain 30 pounds to play Jimmy Dugan in 1992’s “A League of Their Own,” and lose about 50 pounds for his role in 2000’s “Cast Away.”

2. Halle Berry
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2 HALLE BERRY

While on the set of short-lived television show “Living Dolls” in 1989 actress Halle Berry collapsed into a weeklong diabetic coma. "Diabetes caught me completely off guard," she explained in an interview. This is not uncommon, it is estimated that seven million Americans are currently undiagnosed. Today Berry is healthy and is thankful she can manage her diabetes. “They [doctors] told me I could lose my eyesight, or I could lose my legs," Berry said in an interview with The Daily Mail. "I was scared to death. I thought I was going to die." According to the Daily Mail, the first thing Berry did was to change her diet to one that is low in fat, sugar and processed carbohydrates. Berry likely had Type 2 diabetes all along, because she couldn’t have avoided insulin if she had Type 1.

3. Jay Cutler
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3 JAY CUTLER

This NFL quarterback has Type 1 diabetes, and he says that taking care of his diabetes is like a full-time job. He takes insulin every day, eats right, and has become a role model to kids with Type 1 diabetes. "It's hard enough as a kid these days to feel normal and just try to fit in," Cutler said in a Yahoo! Sports interview. "To be a diabetic is just a dramatic thing to go through." Type 1 diabetics are diagnosed at a young age because they cannot live without insulin for the rest of their lives.

4. Bret Michaels
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4 BRET MICHAELS

The former frontman of 1980s glam metal band Poison was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was only 6 years old. Michaels, who admits that managing Type 1 diabetes is not always an easy task, has said, “I have great days and I have bad days. I want to say, look, there are complications and it is a tough disease to manage, but I've done it, and I live a ridiculously outrageous, crazy life.” His advice for other people with diabetes? “Find that one thing [that motivates you]. Like [for me it’s] making sure I'm around to watch my daughters grow up.”

Related: 16 Celebrity Weight Loss ‘Before’ and ‘Afters’

5. Salma Hayek
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5 SALMA HAYEK

Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek was diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant with her daughter, Valentina. Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and usually goes away after pregnancy. About two to 10 percent of pregnant women develop this type of diabetes. Hayek still has a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes later in life and she’s revealed that diabetes runs in her family. As a result of excessive hormone production in the body and a build up of insulin resistance, gestational diabetes can occur halfway throughout a pregnancy even to women with no family history of diabetes.

Related: 18 Celebrities Who Run

6. Randy Jackson
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6 RANDY JACKSON

In 2002 at 300 pounds, music producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson was diagnosed with diabetes. Jackson lost 100 pounds after gastric bypass surgery and maintains his weight loss and diabetes with healthy eating and regular exercise. Being overweight is one of the top risks that can contribute to the development of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, even losing 10 to 15 pounds could make a big difference for your health.

Related: Randy Jackson and 15 Other Celebrity Weight Loss ‘Before’ and ‘Afters’

7. Billie Jean King
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7 BILLIE JEAN KING

Former professional tennis champion Billie Jean King was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at age 63. She stated that she used to be a binge eater and that diabetes runs in her family. “Anyone can develop diabetes, even an athlete,” King said in an interview. Now she tests her blood sugar twice a day, takes medication and exercises often to keep her diabetes under control.

8. Chaka Khan
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8 CHAKA KHAN

In 2012, singer Chaka Khan lost 60 pounds on a vegan diet and credited the plant-based eating plan with helping her to get off diabetes medication. Sixty-year-old Khan had Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, so she decided to radically change her lifestyle so that she will be able to be around to take care of her granddaughter.

Related: How Going Meat-Free (Even for a Few Days) Could Improve Your Life

9. Paul Sorvino
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9 PAUL SORVINO

Italian actor Paul Sorvino was shocked by his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. “I play tennis and I work out, and have been working out all my life. I don't do drugs or drink much. I eat very well,” he said in an interview. He was diagnosed after feeling tired and thirsty for an extended period of time. Sorvino now uses a slow-release pen and medication to keep his blood sugar on an even keel, while still watching what he eats. It is estimated that over a quarter of the U.S. population 65 and older has diabetes. If you are in that age group, make sure to talk to your doctor about it. Over time, untreated diabetes can damage your eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys.

Related: 18 Celebrities Who Run

10. Patti LaBelle
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10 PATTI LABELLE

This Grammy award-winning songstress calls herself “divabetic” because she’s tackled her diabetes diagnosis by staying strong and changing her diet. LaBelle says that diabetes runs in her family and that she has taken an active role in her life to curb her symptoms. Now, she works out in her pool and likes to walk with a trainer, while she eats much healthier than she once did. Some of the cooking changes that have helped the singer and cookbook author manage her diabetes, include sautéing instead of frying and using spices and herbs instead of butter. She enjoys turkey burgers, grilled chicken, egg whites and oatmeal.

11. Sherri Shepherd
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11 SHERRI SHEPHERD

This cohost of The View regained control of her diabetes and lost 40 pounds while doing it. She said that after her diagnosis she was scared skinny. "My mom died of diabetes complications when she was 41. When I was 40, my doctor told me, 'I don't know when you're going to have a stroke, but it's going to happen.' That was my wakeup call,” she said in an interview. She began working regularly with an intense trainer and eating better. Approximately 75 percent of people with diabetes will die of heart disease or stroke. They are also likely to die younger than people who do not have diabetes.

12. Larry King
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12 LARRY KING

Talk show host Larry King was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1995. He says he tries to keep his regular exercise fun so he continues to do it. King loves to dance! “I like swing, a lot of the Latin dances, and I like to dance to Sinatra,” he said in an interview. He also eats healthy and tries to eat what he loves, as this makes eating healthy a lot easier for him. Some of his favorite foods include blueberries, which are easy to incorporate into pretty much any meal of the day.

Related: Gluten-Free Paleo Pancakes and Blueberry Muffin

13. Vanessa Williams
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13 VANESSA WILLIAMS

Former broadway star and Miss America Vanessa Williams has supported many diabetes charities after she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The singer/actress also supports diabetes research which states that in 2010, 1.9 million people over 20 were diagnosed with diabetes.

14. Drew Carey
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14 DREW CAREY

Drew Carey was able to stop taking his diabetes medication after an 80-pound weight loss. "Once I started dropping a couple pant sizes, then it was easy," he told People magazine. "’Cause once you see the results, then you don’t wanna stop," said Carey. The host of The Price Is Right stays in shape by cutting out carbohydrates most of the time, eating eggs and Greek yogurt and keeping up with his daily exercise routine.

Related: Drew Carey and 15 Other Celebrity Weight Loss ‘Before’ and ‘Afters’

15. David “Boomer” Wells
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15 DAVID “BOOMER” WELLS

Former MLB left-handed pitcher David Wells changed his lifestyle to get his diabetes in check. When he was diagnosed in 2007, he quit drinking alcohol and cut out many starches and bad carbs. Diabetics are two to four times more likely to suffer a stroke and have a higher risk of heart disease.

16. Nick Jonas
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16 NICK JONAS

The youngest of the Jonas Brothers, Nick went public about his Type 1 diabetes in 2007. He experienced thirst and weight loss before he took control of his diabetes. Jonas has shared that managing his diabetes was a little bit overwhelming at first, but that with the support of his family and friends, the process became a lot easier. He had to very quickly adapt his lifestyle to match his health needs. Because Nick is insulin dependent, he has wears an insulin pump, which his fans are always trying to spot in pictures of him.

17. Nick Boynton
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17 NICK BOYNTON

This Stanley-cup winning NHL player has Type 1 diabetes. During his first year at the NHL’s Boston Bruins training camp, Boynton experienced extreme thirst and weight loss. Now he is a role model to young diabetics, and keeps his diabetes in check with medication and a healthy lifestyle.

18. Charlie Kimball
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18 CHARLIE KIMBALL

Charlie Kimball is the first licensed driver with diabetes to win an INDYCAR race. Kimball was diagnosed in 2007, and it almost caused him to give up racing. He takes insulin with a prefilled pen before a race, and Kimball watches his diet and uses a monitor that tracks his blood sugar levels to ensure his diabetes is managed before and during his time in the racecar.

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Are you concerned about the Type 2 diabetes epidemic in the U.S.? Do you or someone have diabetes? How do you manage it? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on the comments section below.

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