In Good Company: celebrity women living with diabetes - Diabetes WA
 In Healthy Hints and Hacks

As proof that diabetes really does affect everyone, these famous faces are living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes or were diagnosed with gestational diabetes when they were pregnant.

Mary Tyler Moore – type 1

The late actress was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 30, when she was hospitalised after having a miscarriage. A routine blood test at the hospital showed a very high blood glucose level. “They put me on insulin right away,” she told Larry King in 2005. She played an active part in promoting diabetes research and was the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the US. She died January 25, 2017.

Halle Berry – type 1

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is known for her roles in films such as Monster’s BallX-Men, and Die Another Day. In 1989, at the age of 19, the now 51-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 managing her diabetes, even going so far as to controversially claim she had been cured by weaning herself off insulin in 2007. She now “considers herself to be in the type 2 diabetes bracket”. Many experts speculate that she is either confused or was simply misdiagnosed and had type 2 diabetes all along.

Mariah Carey – gestational

When singer Mariah Carey was pregnant with twins Monroe and Moroccan, now six, she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Mariah recalls in a recent magazine that it was “a really difficult pregnancy” and has openly said that she won’t be adding to her family.

Marcia Hines – type 1

Marcia Hines has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 30 years. The Aussie music icon manages her condition with regular exercise, a healthy diet and the occasional treat. In 2010, she starred in Sweet Talk – My Life with Diabetes in a bid to build awareness and education.

Cathy Freeman – type 2

Cathy Freeman’s pre-diabetes turned into type 2 after the birth of her daughter, Ruby, almost seven years ago. Despite a family history of the condition, the diagnosis came as a shock to the Olympic gold medallist who believed she would be safe from “lifestyle” diabetes. Cathy’s since been committed to raising awareness that Indigenous Australians are three times more likely to develop the condition.

Salma Hayek – gestational

Actress Salma Hayek had gestational diabetes while pregnant with her daughter, Valentina in 2007. Best known for her Academy Award-winning portrayal of Frida Kahlo in the movie Frida, she has, in recent years, become a self-assigned spokesperson for gestational diabetes. With a family history of diabetes, she speaks about the importance of raising awareness of the condition, and ways to eat well during pregnancy.

Verity Charles – type 1

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 17 years old, our HBF Run for a Reason Ambassador Verity Charles is living proof that people with type 1 diabetes can achieve their dreams. Verity plays centre for the West Coast Fever netball team and says she would love to inspire even one young girl with diabetes who wants to be an athlete.

Billie Jean King – type 2

The tennis great says as an athlete she’s always been mindful of diet and exercise, but when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, she had to focus even more. The subject of 2017 film, Battle of the Sexes, said in a magazine article, the hardest change was cutting back on carbs and sugars. She tells people who are diagnosed: “Just know that you can live a normal, wonderful, terrific, active life.”

Patti LaBelle – type 2

On her website, American singer Patti LaBelle, who has a family history of diabetes, opens up about her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. “I passed out on stage … and the doctor came back to me and said, ‘Did you know you were a type 2 diabetic?’ And I said, ‘I had no idea,'” she states. She has since written healthy cookbooks, and called herself a ‘Divabetic’ – a combination of ‘Diabetic’ and ‘Diva’ – in People magazine in December 2008.

Theresa May – type 1

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, lives with type 1 diabetes and is the first world leader to have the condition. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2013 following a blood test to assess significant weight loss.  However, the tablets she was prescribed by doctors failed to work and subsequent tests revealed that she actually had type 1.

Managing type 1 diabetes in a high-profile job required adjustments. In an article with UK magazine, Balance, Theresa May explained:  “I go to a lot of functions where I am eating and I speak at dinners, so that brings an added complication. When I’m going to do a debate or speaking at a conference, I have to make sure that I’ve tested and know where I am, so I can adjust as necessary.” In fact, she had to break the House of Commons’ rules on not eating in the Chamber when she ate some nuts during a debate without being seen by the Speaker.

While playing a vital role in the running of a country and successfully managing her type 1 diabetes, Theresa May is a tribute to not letting diabetes stand in the way of what you do with your life.

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