Famous People With Type 1 Diabetes

Inspiration for Living Well with Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes knows no bounds. It touches the lives of common people as well as the famous and well known. Celebrities often use their visibility and public position to speak out about issues that are important to them and in the process help encourage us.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in 2018, approximately 1.6 million Americans were living with type 1 diabetes, translating to 5% of the total diabetes burden in the United States. The remainder is comprised of adults and children with type 2 diabetes.

Here are nine famous people who serve as an inspiration to what you can achieve if diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

1

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sports

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008. Before, during, and after each game he would carefully monitor his blood sugar (glucose) levels. He wears an insulin pump to help manage his diabetes.

Insulin pump therapy, also known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII), is an important and evolving form of insulin delivery that is mainly used for people with type 1 diabetes.

2

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels
Ethan Miller/Getty Image Intertainment

Bret Michaels, lead singer for the band Poison, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 6 years old. He hasn’t let diabetes deter him from a successful music career that has sold over 25 million records and includes 15 Top 40 singles. His work expanded into film production, writing, directing and acting.

Michaels prefers insulin injections instead of an insulin pump and tests his blood eight times a day. In 2010, he won the television series The Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by Donald Trump, and pledged his $300,000 award to the ADA.

3

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Nick Jonas, lead singer and guitarist for the Jonas Brothers, was 13 years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. His blood sugar was over 700 at the time and required him to be hospitalized to get his blood sugar under control.

If your blood sugar level tops 600 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), the condition is called diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome. If left untreated, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can lead to life-threatening dehydration.

It wasn’t until 2007, two years after his diagnosis, that Jonas made a public announcement about his diabetes while playing at a Diabetes Research Institute carnival. Since that time he has become a great inspiration for many young people with diabetes.

Jonas wants kids with diabetes to know that it's important to never get down about having this disease.

4

Anne Rice

Anne Rice
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Novelist Anne Rice, most famous for her many vampire novels, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998. At the time of diagnosis, her blood sugar level was around 800, putting her health in grave danger.

Since that time, she has learned to manage her diabetes and is doing well. Despite her diabetes, she is still successfully writing and publishing.

5

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 33 after being hospitalized for a miscarriage. A routine blood test taken during her hospitalization recorded a blood sugar of 750, which prompted the start of insulin therapy.

Women with type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk of first-trimester miscarriage and have a two- to five-fold increased risk of birth defects compared to the general population. For some women, diabetes may only be diagnosed when they first see an obstetrician.

Moore, best known for her years on, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” appeared in many other television shows and movies and has been honored with numerous awards.

Moore dedicated several years to promoting diabetes research and served as the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for several years before her death in 2017.

6

Elliott Yamin

Elliott Yamin
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Elliott Yamin is best known for his third-place finish in the fifth season of American Idol. Yamin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his mid-teens. He admits to being angry and in denial about his diabetes back then but has accepted the fact that he must manage his blood sugar and currently does so with the use of an insulin pump.

He has become a role model for young people with diabetes and believes in the importance of support from friends and family.

7

Sonia Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sonia Sotomayor is a Justice on the United States Supreme Court and is the first person with type 1 to ever serve on the high court. Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven when she began insulin therapy.

Sotomayor attributes her successful diabetes management to being vigilant with insulin injections and testing her blood sugar level often. Another key to maintaining her high-powered career is carrying glucose tablets wherever she goes.

It has been estimated that no less than 2% of Americans remain undiagnosed.

8

Gary Hall Jr.

Gary Hall Jr.
Donald Miralle/Getty Images Sport

Olympian swimmer Gary Hall Jr. was an accomplished competitive swimmer when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1999. With four Olympic medals already in hand, doctors told him that his swimming career was over.

But Hall was determined to prove them wrong. He had to learn to increase his stamina without getting fatigued, which required him to get out of the water and check his blood sugar levels every 45 minutes.

In 2000, he was recognized as the fastest swimmer in the world and in 2008, Hall retired with 10 Olympic medals, five of them gold.

Hall is a member of the JRDF and regularly speaks to young people with diabetes, emphasizing that their goals can be accomplished despite the fact that they live with diabetes.

9

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicole Johnson won the Miss America pageant in 1999. But when she was diagnosed with type 1 in 1993, she was told to avoid competative beauty pagents by her doctors. Determined to prove her doctors wrong, she went on to place as third-runner up in Miss Florida USA in 1997, and became Miss Virginia in 1998.

By the time she won the Miss America pageant, she had already begun to advocate for diabetes.

She is now a mother and serves on various health advisory committees along with working with the ADA and the JDRF.

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