Dangerous Diabetes: Affliction of the Stars

This has been quite a year for Halle Berry.

Not only did the 41-year-old actress achieve a long desired pregnancy, but she stirred up a storm of controversy when she claimed that she had cured herself of type 1 diabetes -- a claim refuted by many doctors and the diabetes community. Berry is the latest example of the many stars, alive and dead, who have waged a battle with diabetes.



Halle Berry

Halle Berry struggled with managing her type 1 diabetes throughout her childhood, and then reported a surprise. "I've managed to wean myself off insulin, so now I'd like to put myself in the type 2 category," the Web site contactmusic.com quotes the actress as saying in early November.

Diabetics quickly admonished Berry for her comments and doctors confirmed: It is not possible to "cure" anyone of diabetes. If Berry were truly a type 1 diabetic, it would be suicide to stop taking insulin. She claims that a healthy diet and exercise has changed the course of her illness.

"When someone really has type 1, it means their immune system has destroyed the insulin producing part of the pancreas. In that case, there is no way to wean yourself off insulin," Dr. Francine Kaufman, a diabetes expert at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, told ABC News.

Some 20.8 million people -- 7 percent of the population -- have diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health. African-Americans, however, are particularly at risk. According to institute statistics, 3.2 million black Americans, or 13.3 percent of all non-Hispanic blacks, have the disease.

Type 2 tends to affect the unfit and obese; 90 percent of all type 2 patients are overweight. Berry, however, was a healthy 22-year-old working on the TV show "Living Dolls" in 1989 when she was first diagnosed, she told the Daily Mail in 2005.

Before she was diagnosed and after becoming ill on the set, she told the paper, she slipped into a diabetic coma for a week.

Berry is currently pregnant with her first child with her boyfriend of two years, Gabriel Aubry.



Nick Jonas

Tweenie pop star Nick Jonas announced he had type 1 diabetes earlier this year. The 14-year-old sensation of the Jonas Brothers Band was diagnosed in 2005, after he had many of the common symptoms: sudden weight loss, extreme thirst and irritability.

"For someone who had no bad medical history ever," Jonas told the Web site diabeteshealth.com, "to suddenly have the shock of diabetes was a bit overwhelming in itself, and then I had to learn all about it, learn all these things in such a short period of time. All of it was crazy. I also wondered if I could continue making music ... but I had the support of my friends and the band to be there with me. My dad was back at home with my three other brothers, but my mom stayed at the hospital with me every night."

Now the teen star uses an insulin pump and says that his diabetes is managed well. He advises other teens who have been recently diagnosed on diabeteshealth.com: "Don't let it slow you down at all. I made a promise to myself on the way to the hospital that I wouldn't let this thing slow me down, and I'd just keep moving forward, and that's what I did. Just keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward with it. Don't be discouraged."

Nick Jonas sings, plays guitar and drums in the Jonas Brothers Band with his two older siblings, Kevin and Joe. They grew up in New Jersey -- the children of musicians.



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