Celebrity Chef Paula Deen has Diabetes Y’all

The woman who openly claims she never met a stick of butter or deep fryer she didn’t like, Southern celebrity chef Paula Deen has Type 2 Diabetes.

Deen confirmed the recent rumors this morning on the Today show, in an interview with Al Roker. She says she was diagnosed with the disorder three years ago.

When asked by Roker why she waited so long to tell fans about it, whether she hid her diagnosis to protect her food dynasty, Deen replied:

No… I wanted to be able to bring something to the table when I made the diagnosis public.

Deen has partnered with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, makers of Victoza – a once-daily, non-insulin injection (which Deen uses). They have  set up a website: Diabetes in a New Light™:

I’m excited to team up with Novo Nordisk on this initiative to show others that managing diabetes does not have to stop you from enjoying the things you love.

My sons Bobby, Jamie and I have teamed up with Novo Nordisk to create a program that will help you better manage your diabetes. We’re sharing some of our favorite recipes, lightened up, and creating new diabetes-friendly options that everyone will love. We’re also going to offer tips and advice to help you stay on track.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body is either unable to make, or is resistant to a insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is used to break down and store energy (in the form of glucose or “sugar”) from foods. Without insulin, blood glucose and fat levels become too high and, over time, can damage blood vessels and vital organs.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, which used to be called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, is a disease where the body is unable to make insulin.

Scientists do not know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, but they believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are to blame.

Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This meansthat the immune system, which normally ignores healthy cells but destroys germs and foreign substances that could cause illness,mistakenly launches an attack on the body itself. In diabetes, insulin producing cells, called islet cells, in the pancreas are destroyed.

People may develop type 1 diabetes at any age, but it is frequently diagnosed before adulthood. It accounts for about 5%-10% of all diabetes cases, and affects approximately one in every 400 to 500 children in the U.S.

People with Type I diabetes must receive injections of insulin every day to control their disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

In this form of the disease, insulin is still made (although possibly at lower levels), but the tissues have become resistant to the effects, leading to a rise in blood sugar.

It usually occurs in people who are over 40, overweight, and have a family history of the disease although it is also becoming more common in younger people, particularly adolescents.

Research indicates that type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Many risk factors make people more likely to develop the disease including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and physical inactivity.

Type 2 diabetes is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.

Diet, exercise, weight loss, and oral medications to lower blood sugar are used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes?

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual

Other celebrities with Diabetes:

Type 1

Type 2

  • Halle Berry – actress
  • BB King – musician
  • Sugar Ray Leonard – boxer
  • Drew Carey – actor; comedian; game show host
  • Tommy Lee – drummer for Motley Crue
  • Billie Jean King – tennis player

For more information about Diabetes, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Do you have diabetes? Do you think Deen’s new website site will be helpful?

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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