In the United States alone, an estimated 23.6 million people have diabetes. Each year, around 1.6 million people who belong with the age bracket 20 and above are diagnosed with this serious lifelong condition.
Medical experts define diabetes as a type of metabolism disorder. Metabolism refers to the way the body uses digested food as a source of energy and for growth. When food is broken down, most of it becomes glucose, a form of sugar found in the blood. Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. For glucose to be absorbed by the cells, the hormone insulin is needed. The pancreas produces insulin for the body.
People with diabetes produce very little or no insulin. It can also be due to the cells not responding to the insulin produced. When this happens, glucose accumulates in the blood, overflows into the individual’s urine and passes out of the person’s body. Hence, the important source of fuel for the body is lost.
The Three Types of Diabetes
- Type 1- This type of diabetes is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s immune system attacks a certain part of the body it has categorized as an “enemy.” The immune system starts to attack the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin, hence the cells are destroyed and very little or no insulin is produced at all. A person suffering from Type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin everyday to live. Its symptoms include constant hunger, increased thirst and urination, weight loss, extreme fatigue and blurred vision. A person with this type of diabetes must be diagnosed and treated with insulin because he can lapse into ketoacidosis, a life-threatening diabetic coma if not properly treated.
- Type 2- The most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is usually associated with obesity, old age, family history of diabetes, ethnicity and physical inactivity. Studies show that about 90 - 95 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2 and about 80 percent of this is due to being overweight. The pancreas produce insulin but the body can’t use it effectively. The condition is called “insulin resistance.” Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include nausea, fatigue, unusual thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision and slow healing of wounds. No symptoms are shown by some people. These symptoms develop gradually.
- Gestational- This type of diabetes develops only during a woman’s pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes have 20 to 50 percent chance of developing the Type 2 diabetes in five to ten years.
Celebrities are not spared from the threat of acquiring diabetes. In fact, several of the most popular television, music, sports and news personalities have been battling with diabetes for quite a long time already.
The following is a list of some celebrities who have Type 1 diabetes:
- Halle Berry- Known for her roles in blockbuster films such as "X-Men," "Monster’s Ball" and "Die Another Day," this beautiful actress has been combating her diabetes for a long time already. She went into a diabetic coma in 1989 during a taping of her TV show “Living Dolls.”
- Crystal Bowersox- Bagging the runner-up spot in American Idol season 9, Crystal Bowersox was on the verge of leaving the competition in 2010 because she experienced diabetic ketoacidosis. Idol executive producer Ken Warwick told Bowersox that she was off the show but she begged and pleaded to keep her spot in the competition. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was six years old and she’s now an advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
- Anne Rice- This world renowned author discovered she had Type 1 diabetes the hard way. The “Vampire Chronicles” author awoke to a painful headache and difficulty in breathing in 1998. After she went into a coma, and it was only then that she was diagnosed with the disease.
The lists of personalities who have Type 2 diabetes include the following:
- Randy Jackson- This American Idol judge drastically changed his lifestyle upon learning that he has a Type 2 diabetes. According to an interview with Everyday Health, Jackson accepted his diabetes as a wake-up call. He modified his diet and made sure he gets a lot of exercise.
- Larry King- He is one of the most popular television interviewers and has faced a lot of challenges in life other than his confrontational guests. King had a heart attack in 1987 and this event led him to quit smoking and change his way of living. In 1998, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
- Patti LaBelle- The great singer revealed that her mother died of complications from Type 2 diabetes at the age of 58. LaBelle had been ignoring the symptoms but when she passed out during a concert, she finally took the initiative to take care of her health by doing regular exercise and eating healthy.
This only shows that no one is safe from developing serious diseases, whether you are just an ordinary person or big names like the celebrities mentioned above. The key to keeping your body healthy is by having regular exercise, a well-balanced diet and regular trip to your physician for a general check-up.
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