Dangerous Diabetes: Affliction of the Stars

Delta Burke

Delta Burke is best known for her role as the outspoken Suzanne Sugarbaker on the TV show "Designing Women," but she has also become a personality for diabetes information. The stage, screen and film actress -- and the wife of actor Gerald McRaney -- leads the Let's Talk campaign, which sheds light on the importance of managing diabetes through diet and exercise. The campaign moved through a dozen U.S. cities during the summer of 2007.

Burke has lost about 60 pounds, due to her nearly 10-year battle with type 2 diabetes. She began to lose weight so she could play the role of "Truvy" in the Broadway production of Steel Magnolias in 2005, a role that required her to be more slender.



Dick Clark

Dick Clark, legendary host of "American Bandstand," is sometimes called America's oldest teenager. He revealed in early 2004 that he was dealing with a very grown-up illness: type 2 diabetes. He was first diagnosed in 1994, at age 64.

Clark became a spokesman to raise awareness about the risks of heart attack and stroke that accompany diabetes. He manages his type 2 diabetes with medication, diet and exercise, and plans to continue hosting and performing despite suffering a stroke in December 2004.



Jerry Mathers

Jerry Mathers played "Beaver" Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver" from 1957 to 1963. After a run on the return of the show in the 1980s, Mathers packed on some pounds when he retired, and he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1989.

Mathers told the Web site diabeteshealth.com that at first he wasn't concerned about having type 2 diabetes. He figured he would just starve himself by not eating breakfast and lunch, and then have a little more for dinner.

He soon learned that starving himself only made his blood sugar roller coaster worse, and he changed his ways, losing about 50 pounds -- going from 230 to 180 pounds. He manages his diabetes through diet and exercise, and says he no longer requires medication. Mathers has partnered with many organizations to bring diabetes awareness to the public and is currently the national spokesman for a blood glucose monitoring system.

Randy Jackson

"American Idol" judge and performer Randy Jackson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001, when he weighed 360 pounds. "I was in the worse shape of my life," Jackson, now 51, told Newsweek magazine. Even though his father had been diabetic, he thought he just had a cold -- until he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with diabetes.

In addition to treatment with medication, Jackson underwent a gastric bypass operation that reduced his weight to 230 pounds. He has given up the pies and cakes he grew up with as a child in the South. Jackson's diet today includes plenty of vegetables and very few sweets. "Food is for nutrition now," he told Newsweek. He is also helping the American Heart Association get the word out about the heart risks associated with the disease.



Victor Garber

Victor Garber, 57, has been acting most of his life. He has been nominated six times for Emmy Awards and has mastered television, film and stage performances. One of his most important roles, however, came early in his life -- when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12.

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