Nick Jonas was a ‘day away’ from a coma before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes

I didn’t know that Nick Jonas has diabetes. He has talked about it in interviews and on Instagram. In 2015, he founded Beyond Type 1, to unite “the global diabetes community,” by focusing on “education, advocacy and the path to a cure for Type 1 diabetes.” Living with diabetes was the subject of the Jonas Brothers’ 2008 song, “A Little Bit Longer.”

Nick recently talked to Cigar Aficionado about when he was diagnosed with diabetes at 13. He learned that he had been heading toward lapsing into a diabetic coma. People has more:

Nick Jonas’ body was struggling in the days before he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The singer was 13 years old at the time, and had lost a considerable amount of weight. At the same time, he developed an unquenchable thirst for sugary sodas — all signs of diabetes. After one of Jonas’ brothers noticed his symptoms, he went to the doctor, where they found that his blood sugar levels were nine times higher than normal, at 917.

“I was very close to a coma,” he told Cigar Aficionado. “Like a day away, if I hadn’t gone to the hospital.”

Jonas, now 27, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which means his body creates very little or no insulin on its own, requiring medication. He was fearful of a future of relying on insulin to maintain his health.

“I kept asking my parents — am I going to be okay?” he says. “I was just so concerned that it was going to limit my ability to do all the things I wanted to do. I was very scared — it’s a big life change.”

But Jonas, who uses an insulin pump to get his medication, learned that it was easier than he expected.

“I found out very quickly it’s a very manageable disease,” he said. “As long as you’re really diligent.”

[From People]

This was an incredibly sobering read. I am so glad that Nick was able to get a diagnosis before ending up in what would have been a life-threatening coma.

Delish recapped in June a portion of the Jonas Brothers’ documentary, Chasing Happiness, in which the brothers talk about Nick finally being diagnosed with diabetes. He had been drinking an excessive amount of soda and water, exhibiting mood swings, and finally, he lost an extreme amount of weight:

“Every time we would stop [on the road] Nick would get this massive Big Gulp,” Kevin recalls in Chasing Happiness. He would drink massive amounts of water and soda which led to bathroom breaks “every 15 minutes,” Joe says: “It was like a running joke.”

While bandmates’ complaints about Nick’s increasing irritability were concerning, it was his weight that sounded the alarm. One time while changing for a show, Kevin remembers being able to see “every single bone in [Nick’s] body.” His parents took him to the pediatrician who immediately sent him to the hospital where he was officially diagnosed with diabetes.

[From Delish]

Nick also talked to Cigar Aficionado about the importance of regular check-ups to ensure that you’re as healthy as you can possibly be. (I’m hoping that he’s not a regular cigar-smoker.) I haven’t been to the doctor for a wellness visit in ages. It was on my list of things to schedule eventually, but after reading Nick’s interview, I’m going to try to schedule an appointment soon.


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💨 @cigaraficionado

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13 years ago today I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The picture on the left is me a few weeks after my diagnosis. Barely 100 pounds after having lost so much weight from my blood sugar being so high before going to the doctor where I would find out I was diabetic. On the right is me now. Happy and healthy. Prioritizing my physical health, working out and eating healthy and keeping my blood sugar in check. I have full control of my day to day life with this disease, and I’m so grateful to my family and loved ones who have helped me every step of the way. Never let anything hold you back from living your best life. Thank you to all my fans for your kind words and support. Means more than you know. Love you all. #grateful #diabetes #livebeyond #fbf

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photos credit: Backgrid and Instagram/Nick Jonas and Cigar Aficionado

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17 Responses to “Nick Jonas was a ‘day away’ from a coma before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes”

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  1. runcmc says:

    It’s scary what type 1 diabetes can do when left untreated. My brother died from complications due to type 1 diabetes in his early 20s (he had really recently been diagnosed and never really got the hang of treatment). And it’s so scary how many people are diagnosed later in life!! If you have kids, doesn’t hurt to get them checked for diabetes! My brother was an athlete and seemed perfectly healthy so there were no overt warning signs (except his moodiness which my family chalked up as his personality)

    • Jess says:

      Runcmc – I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. How tragic. My brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 37. I had no idea until he got it just how terrifying Type 1 is and how hard it is to manage. He’s really disciplined about managing it and it’s still hard. Fortunately, he has good health care so he doesn’t have to ration his insulin like some people have. Insulin is so expensive that some people can’t afford enough and rationing is dangerous. At least one young man in MN died because of rationing, which is unforgivable. Once again, the insurance companies and big pharma are creating these life and death situations for anyone without a big pile of cash to fall back on.

    • Esmom says:

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother. I’m grateful that my kids’ pediatrician did a urine test at every routine checkup because that’s how we caught my son’s T1D when he was 16. He was not showing any symptoms yet. It was surreal because we have no family history of the disease, but I’ve learned that diagnoses of it and other autoimmune diseases is on the rise.

      He’s managing it well so far (knock on wood) but I worry about his future in a couple years when he’s no longer on our healthcare plan. Stories of people rationing their insulin are heartbreaking and infuriating.

  2. Bookworm says:

    My MIL was a nurse, and she advised me to have our son tested for diabetes when he was little because she thought his being thirsty seemingly all the time could be a sign.

    Luckily he was fine, just thirsty because of running around like the energizer bunny playing all the time.

    But it’s good to be aware of the possible symptoms.

  3. Jb says:

    I learned years ago he was a diabetic and was so glad he was bringing awareness to the disease. I especially liked how he showed just because you’re a Type 1 doesn’t mean you can’t have a normal life and or be fit. Wish their article pointed out that Type 1 is different than Type 2. Type 1 here and so tired of hearing how your so and so had Type 2 and all they did was (insert diet, pills, miracle drug) and they got better or it helped them OR that I should have laid off the candy as a kid. Type 1 is a autoimmune disease that has your body attack your pancreas making it utterly useless. Instagram has been a great tool to find other Type 1s and putting a face to the disease and a reminder that there’s many of us just fighting to have a “normal” life.

    • Jess says:

      Jb – totally agree. It is frustrating how people don’t know the difference. In my family it’s particularly striking because my dad and one brother basically live on candy and Pepsi while my brother who got Type 1 diabetes has always been fit and never liked sweet stuff. He just got dealt a really crappy hand. Hope you have the support and insurance you need to manage your diabetes!

    • Nacho_friend says:

      Hi my mom has type 1 and it facing some serious complications and basically is slowly dying from all the infections over the past 10 years most of us healthy people are able to fight off.

      My question is I though you can only go into a diabetic coma from low glucose not high? High is when you take your insulin, and drink water and low is when you need sugar if you are in the sliding scale.

      *edit I guess my moms levels were never that high to go into a coma, although a few time’s they have been so high they were off her glucose reader.

      Take care of yourself!!!

      • eliza says:

        My son is a type 1. Diagnosed when he was 3. Now he’s five. To answer your question– you can go into a coma from extremely low blood sugar, but you can also go into a coma from there not being enough insulin in your system. Eventually you’ll develop diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and go into a coma. And when there isn’t enough insulin in your body most of the time the blood sugars run high, but it really is more related to the lack of insulin then the high blood sugar. So for example– if somebody has a really bad stomach flu and aren’t eating anything at all, their blood sugar can appear normal but they can go into DKA and die if they aren’t getting insulin. Blood sugar numbers are extremely important but they’re not as important as having insulin in your body at all times, regardless of the numbers.

  4. Eulalia says:

    First of all…Cigar Aficionado magazine?!

    I didn’t know there was such an untapped target market for cigar content.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      It’s a HUGE market…and a HUGE thing too with cigar bars opening up all over the place….

      It reminds me of the type of base that GQ had back in the late 70s and 80s….

  5. Steph says:

    If you thought this was a sobering read, you should definitely watch the documentary. The quote above doesn’t really convey how scared his brothers were when they realized there was actually something wrong or his fear when he realized it. It’s in their tone and body language.

    Also, I wish it got into how the disease is manageable if you can afford it.

  6. lucy2 says:

    Glad he’s ok, that had to be scary. Over 900 is REALLY high! He’s lucky the cost of medicine isn’t an issue for him, and it shouldn’t be for anyone.

    Cigars are disgusting.

  7. bobafelty says:

    Yeah, apparently you can develop Type I diabetes at anytime in your life, although very rare. The medical community is trying to change the common name of Type I “childhood diabetes” to something else, to prevent people from continuing to believe you only get Type I as a kid or Type II due to diet/lifestyle. The scary part is, Type I gives the same symptoms as a bad flu. My 42 year old cousin just thought he was really sick and took a few days off of work, not realizing what was happening. No one knew until after the autopsy that he’d fallen into a diabetic coma. Scary stuff.

  8. Ceecu33 says:

    I use to work with a guy who had it. He was always skinny, but he came from a medical background so I figured for him it was his normal and it was healthy. He ended up dying very young a few years back. I think he was 35? Either way I hope that doesn’t happen to Nick. Diabetes seems to be a disease a lot of us overlook

  9. Lucy says:

    I always forget he’s only a couple years older than me. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have such a disease. I’m glad he’s okay.

  10. EviesMom says:

    Interesting fact. A Canadian discovered insulin and they sold the patent for $1 to the world so insulin would be available to everyone.

    Except that greedy pharmaceutical companies have decided to hijack the gift & profit from increasing insulin prices in the US to a point that people are rationing their insulin to the point of dying.

    Every time my in-laws rant about the Canadian health care system, I sit them down and explain how much insulin will cost their grandson if he lived in the US. I patiently explain how f&cking lucky we are to live here under this medical system.

    Props to Nick Jonas for being a role model to people with T1D. Especially teenagers who really benefit from seeing others with T1D thrive.

  11. ravynrobyn says:

    I’ve been T 2 30+ years and managing it is a big fat PITA-even with great health insurance as I’m sure Nick has. In addition to the usual amount/type of food/exercise/medication concerns- ANYTHING & EVERYTHING can affect your blood sugar levels-weather/mood/illness/lack of sleep-it’s something that is AWAYS with you. I’m so proud of Nick; to manage his T1 with all he has going on is incredible & inspiring.
    My niece died at 27 from T1 & cystic fibrosis
    (found out CF happens to a lot of T 1 children as it’s a precursor.). She could never have kids nor drive a car or ever really be alone.
    To all the T1’s out there-I can’t imagine how frustrating and MADDENING it is for people to not know the difference/not CARE to know the difference/get advice from someone who has absolutely no idea what he or she is talking about…I’m really sorry you have to deal with this 💕💕