Halle Berry: “Diabetes Is A Gift”

BERLIN - FEBRUARY 25: American actress Halle Berry attends the German premiere of her new film "Gothika" February 25, 2004 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Kurt Vinion /Getty Images)

(Photo by Kurt Vinion /Getty Images)

Years ago, Halle Berry lay dangerously ill in a diabetic coma for a week before waking to a life that would never be the same again.

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“Diabetes caught me completely off guard,” she explains.

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“None of my family had suffered from the illness and although I was slightly overweight in school, I thought I was pretty healthy. I fell ill – dramatically – when I was on the TV show, Living Dolls, in 1989. I felt I needed energy but I didn’t even have a minute to pop out and get a chocolate bar. I didn’t really know what was wrong.”

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Halle was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, where the body is unable to produce enough insulin to process sugar into energy.

“I thought I could tough it out, but I couldn’t have been more wrong,” she says. “One day, I simply passed out, and I didn’t wake up for seven days, which is obviously very serious.”

Type 2 Diabetes can take years to develop, with sufferers experiencing symptoms like Halle’s constant feelings of tiredness. Others include blurred vision, weight loss, raging thirst, genital itching and tingling in the hands and feet.

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 05: Halle Berry attends the 'Cloud Atlas' Germany Premiere at CineStar on November 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

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Experts believe that more than half a million people in the UK alone are unknowingly living with the disease. Likely indicators are being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating a sugar and carbohydrate-laden diet.

The condition is also more common, and develops at a younger age in African and Asian communities because of genetic predisposition.

It is most likely that Halle, who was born in Liverpool to a white English mother and black father, falls into the last group.

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As she came round in hospital, doctors explained to her the seriousness of her condition.
Although her pancreas was still producing some insulin it was less than she needed and her condition was beyond the stage where a diet change or new exercise regime would stop it progressing.

She was told she would need daily insulin injections for the rest of her life, as well as a complete overhaul of her diet. And just in case she had any doubts about making such big changes, the medics spelled out exactly what uncontrolled diabetes could mean.

“They told me I might lose my eyesight, or I could lose my legs,” she remembers, with a shudder.

“I was scared to death, I thought I was going to die.”

They explained that due to excess sugar in the body diabetics can suffer kidney failure, have a five times higher risk of …