Randy Jackson, famous for being a judge on American Idol and for producing such artists as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, found out that he had type 2 diabetes in 2001. At the time, he was 45 years old and weighed 360 lbs. “I was in the worst shape of my life,” recalls Jackson. For weeks, Randy had been feeling tired, thirsty, and overheated. His father was diabetic and took insulin shots, but Jackson put off a trip to the doctor, thinking that he just had a cold instead. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin.
“I was feeling really ill over a couple days, thought I had a cold, was running a high fever. I finally went to the doctor and they said, ‘Guess what? You have type 2 diabetes.’ It ran in my family and all this, so it was a little hereditary for me, but also it was not healthy living, eating, anything, exercise that I was doing, and I was really heavy at that time,” says Jackson.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen to you,” he said.
If you are overweight, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will become a diabetic. However, being obese and not exercizing can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.. Diabetics either produce too little insulin or their cells ignore it, a condition called “insulin resistance.” Insulin takes glucose, broken down from the sugars and starches we eat, from the blood into the cells. Glucose simply builds up in the blood instead of feeding the cells energy without it.
Most diabetics develop a resistance to insulin as adults. This makes type 2 diabetes the more common of the two different types. Doctors still don’t understand why diabetics’ cells are no longer able to use insulin properly.
The pancreas gradually becomes unable to produce more insulin as the need grows. The immediate effects are fatigue and dizziness, but over time high blood-glucose levels can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. Without proper care, diabetics are at risk for heart attacks, blindness and foot amputations. There are about 86,000 diabetes-related amputations annually in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The number one killer of type 2 diabetics is heart disease.
An estimated 20.Eight million Americans now have diabetes. Only five to ten percent of those have type 1. Of those, doctors estimate 6.2 million haven’t been diagnosed. Another 54 million Americans have “prediabetic” elevated blood-glucose levels. (Check out your own risk by taking the test at diabetes.org.)
When Randy Jackson was diagnosed with diabetes, he had gastric bypass surgery and lost 110 lbs.
“It really helped to get the disease to a manageable level for me so I could just go on medication,” Jackson said.
Jackson is now the spokesperson for the American Heart association’s campaign. He is hoping that he can raise awareness because he says that a third of the people who have the disease do not even know it.
Here are some tips from Randy Jackson on how to deal with type 2 diabetes: – Keep active and maintain a healthy lifestyle with a healthy body weight.
“I learned to love the treadmill,” Randy admits. “I hated it before, but I really love it because of my busy lifestyle. It’s something I can always do, jump on the treadmill for 45 minutes.” – Go to the doctor.
“Definitely consult your doctor and have regular visits,” Jackson said. “Men are really bad about going to the doctor. You should go about four times a year at least. And normalize your blood sugar. Check it all the time and try to eat a balanced diet.”
Jackson says he was an emotional eater and, especially coming from the South where fattening comfort food abounds, it was difficult for him to change his habits.
“It’s trying to get sensible about that. Moderation is the key to dieting. Too much of anything is going to be terrible for you,” he said.