What We’re Reading: Halle Berry’s Diabetes

This week, we’d like to direct your attention to the controversy surrounding a recent quote from actress Halle Berry about her diabetes. We don’t usually spend much time covering celebrities, but the ruckus over Berry’s comments may provide some important lessons.

First, it shows how much misinformation about diabetes is still out there. Although it’s unclear whether Berry was claiming to have cured Type 1 diabetes when she said she had weaned herself off insulin and now considered herself “in the Type 2 category,” such a statement is, at the very least, confusing. Understandably, it provoked frustration among many people with diabetes, as can be seen in this post by Kelly Close at Diabetes: Up Close and Personal.

Second, it reminds us that misdiagnosis of diabetes does happen. In an ABC News article, doctors speculate that Berry always had Type 2 diabetes and originally received a wrong diagnosis of Type 1. (Exactly what Berry’s own doctors have told her is unknown.) One comment left on this post at Diabetes Mine relates a personal experience of misdiagnosis and suggests that Berry may actually have maturity-onset diabetes of the young, or MODY. For more information on MODY, see this page at Children With Diabetes.

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And third, it confirms the power of famous people to affect discourse on and knowledge of diabetes, either positively or negatively. At least Berry made her comment just in time for National Diabetes Month—coincidence?

This blog entry was written by Editorial Assistant Quinn Phillips.

  • MsDaisy

    Anybody who gets their medical information from movie stars like Halle Berry or Tom Cruise get what they pay for.

  • Not

    I don’t believe she has any form of diabetes. I think she either has some other condition and was misdiagnosed, or she’s a paid shill for the pharmaceutical companies…and obviously not a very good one.

  • shelley

    omigod this is weird!

    i was diagnosed at thirteen which is now 1 year and 5 months ago, i was originally on insulyn but haven’t needed any for over a year as i have kept it under control. doctors are constantly saying it is a honeymoon period + will not last but after reading this i’m not sure..

    i am not overweight either but i do struggle with low blood sugars even tho i am not on insulyn

  • Michael Barker

    She is a Ketosis Prone Type 2 Diabetic. This is a common type of diabetes amongst people of color in this country. There are an estimated 1,000,000 of them. They present with acute onset like type 1 but after withdrawal of insulin will actually be type 2. Here’s a brief video on it: http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=8826&promo_id=1
    Here’s a blog on it: http://ketosisprone.blogspot.com/