Entertainment superstar Nick Jonas is a hit singer, songwriter, producer, and actor. He's also one of the approximately 1.25 million Americans living with type 1 diabetes. Jonas, now 24, was diagnosed at age 13 and has emerged as a leading voice in raising awareness about the disease.
In 2015, he helped found Beyond Type 1 , a philanthropy that aims to empower people with type 1 diabetes "to both live well today and to fund a better tomorrow." NIH MedlinePlus magazine interviewed him about his experience with type 1 diabetes and his message for others with the disease.
Would you share the circumstances of your type 1 diabetes diagnosis? What were your initial thoughts?
My thoughts when I was diagnosed were real concern for my future, first of all as a performer, and also not knowing anything about the disease. I think I was initially just thinking that it was going to limit my ability to follow my dreams.
"Know that you can still do anything you want to do with your life."
How do you manage your type 1 diabetes? Do you use an insulin pump?
I use an insulin pump to help manage my diabetes, check my blood sugar frequently, and do my best to get to know my body and get to feel out if I am high or low. More than anything, it's trusting my doctor and following all of her advice. You lead a very active and busy life with your type 1 diabetes.
What do you do to manage your diet and exercise?
I choose to live a pretty healthy life as far as my eating habits go. But I love physical exercise and pushing my body. I think it's just about being honest and vocal with the people who you are working with, or trainers and friends who you might be training with, about the disease and how to take care of situations should they arise.
How has your family supported you in all this?
My family has been an incredible support from the time I was diagnosed to now. I became very independent and chose to be independent when it came to the disease, but I am never afraid to rely on them when certain situations come up.
What message do you have for others living with type 1 diabetes?
Know that you can still do anything you want to do with your life. I didn't let it slow me down, and you don't have to either. Also, don't become discouraged. It's tough, because it is such an unpredictable disease from day to day. Even when you think you have a really solid grip on how to manage it, there are times that your body just does what it wants. So be patient and don't get frustrated.