Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the body doesn’t produce insulin, the hormone that converts glucose into energy. The condition affects about 3 million people in the United States alone, and everyone with type 1 diabetes — including celebrities — must replace their insulin every day.

So, every time you take the steps needed to monitor your condition, remember that you’re in some pretty famous company.

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry is known for her roles in films such as Monster’s Ball, X-Men, and Die Another Day. What you may not know is that she has diabetes. In 1989, the now 42-year-old actress went into a diabetic coma during a taping of the television show Living Dolls, and was later diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Since then, Berry has talked openly about controlling diabetes. However, she created controversy a few years ago when she reportedly said she would classify herself as being a type 2 diabetic, as she had supposedly weaned herself off insulin.
marytylermooreNow in her 70s, actress Mary Tyler Moore has always used her fame to help raise funds and awareness for diabetes. Best known for her roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, she was diagnosed at age 33 with type 1 diabetes. Since then, she’s become the international chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In early 2009, Moore released a new book called Growing Up Again, which shares her story of life with diabetes.
Actress Jean Smart got her big break when she landed a role on the hit television series Designing Women. Since then, she has starred in movies, plays, and television shows, including the thriller 24. Not only does Smart have a successful acting career, she has also dedicated herself as a mentor, fundraiser, and activist in the battle against type 1 diabetes. Smart was 13 when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes runs in the family of actor Dorian Gregory, the host of the long-running TV show Soul Train. The actor, who has also appeared on shows such as Charmed and Baywatch Nights, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 9. He gave this advice to dLife, a communications platform addressing diabetes issues: “Make the maintenance of your diabetes fit your construct. If you are forgetful, set alarms to remind you of what you [have to do]. Know that life is our medicine, not just the shots or pills we take. Exercise, food, sleep, management of stress is also our medicine. Take all your medicine, and you will be well.”
Bret Michaels, 46, is best known as a VH1 reality star (Rock of Love) and the lead singer of the rock band Poison. Michaels was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6, but didn’t go public about his condition until shortly after the release of Poison’s first album. In an interview with USA Today, he gave this advice about living with diabetes: “Accept that you have the disease. Keep taking your insulin. Keep it under control. Also, enjoy your life. I have stayed in good physical shape by having mind, matter, and music over the disease.”
jonasThe year 2005 was an important one for teenage idol Nick Jonas, member of the pop group the Jonas Brothers. This was not only when the Jonas Brothers formed, but it was also the year he found out he had type 1 diabetes. Though managing diabetes is often challenging with his touring schedule, Jonas tries to be positive. “The first time I heard someone say ‘thanks for sharing,’ I thought, if I can use this as an opportunity to inspire people, then it’s all worth it,” he told FOX & Friends.
Author Anne Rice learned the hard way that she had type 1 diabetes. It was 1998, and Rice, known for her Vampire Chronicles novels, awoke to a painful headache and problems breathing. It was only after she slipped into a coma that the diabetes diagnosis was made. These days, Rice has the condition under control and encourages others not to ignore symptoms. “If you think you have any chance that you might have diabetes, for God’s sake, go get the blood sugar test,” she told ABC News. “It’s a simple test.”
Damon Dash jumped to fame as the former CEO and co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Kareem “Biggs” Burke. Though Dash is a well-known name in the world of music, fashion, and movies, he’s mostly kept his type 1 diabetes diagnosis under wraps. “I don’t know if anyone knows I am diabetic — I think it’s important to let people know that it’s okay to be diabetic and to know how to take care of it,” he told CNN.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was 8 years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. At the time of her nomination to the Supreme Court in May 2009, some questioned whether Sotomayor’s condition would affect her ability to serve. But in her climb from childhood in a public housing project, to studying at Princeton and Yale, to sitting on the nation’s highest court, she has refused to let her diabetes hold her back. As Sotomayor noted in a speech after her nomination: “I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.”

For more information on living well with type 1 diabetes, visit Everyday Health’s Type 1 Diabetes Center.

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