Video: Nick Jonas On Living With Type 1 Diabetes
“I’m really here to listen today, and just to learn as much as I’m here to speak to my own experience. But again, like I said just really humbled and thrilled to be here to speak to you,” said singer Nick Jonas, who attended the 2023 South By Southwest festival to discuss what living with Type 1 Diabetes is like because he had made “a priority to speak and advocate for this disease for young people, and all people, living with both Type 1 and Type 2.”
The 30-year-old singer recalled getting his diagnosis when he had “just started to gain momentum so something as disruptive as Type 1 was at that point was an interesting journey for not only me but for my family and community to go through.”
Despite being only 13 at the time and “traveling and very busy,” Jonas believed he was “really independent” and “wanted to learn how to manage” his diagnosis on his own. “A lot of it is just learning as you go,” Jonas said, explaining it’s impossible to retain all the information he was given at the time of his diagnosis.
“So, for me, I really relied on my parents and my brothers and then my doctors, and eventually other diabetics who gave me tips along the way, but where I stand now is that I basically wake up every day and the first thing I do is I look at my Dexcom app and see where I’m at. If I haven’t woken up three times in the night with a high blood sugar or low blood sugar, then I’ll go about my day.”
Jonas emphasized that although he tries to “treat it like it’s not a factor,” he still regularly checks the app in order to “make decisions in real-time to live my best life and be as present as I want to be both in my work and with my family and as a friend.”
“It’s unfortunate, there are times where it really comes in and disrupts things in a big way,” Jonas explained using a can of pineapple juice next to him as an example.
“There’s always the possibility that my sugar could drop down below 70 and I’m unable to form a sentence. So it’s really just a matter of staying on top of it and recognizing that there is life-changing technology that has certainly made my journey with the disease much easier and far more manageable,” he said.
Jonas went on to explain the various ways Diabetes care has advanced since he was first diagnosed, saying that “it was not quite that far, you know finger sticks all the time and injections and all the rest, which I understand I’m very fortunate to have that Diabetes care. But it’s come such a long way and I think those strides are continuing. So, I can’t speak for the entire Type 1 community, nor can I speak for the Diabetes community as a whole, but I’ll say that I’m grateful that we have this technology that makes my life, whether I’m busy or not, all the easier for me to just be present and kind of in the moment.
Jonas also explained that the technological advancements have also enabled him to give access to his loved ones to check his location as well as his blood levels in case anything goes wrong. At the moment, his wife, Priyanka Chopra, has access to his app which helps her feel “comfortable knowing that she can see where I’m at and if something, god forbid, goes wrong, call a member of my team on the road and make sure I’m good.”
“Your life with diabetes is never going to be a smooth ride. There’s going to be ups and downs and moments that are more challenging than others. But there is something reassuring knowing that your circle, your friends and family, can all be a part of it with you. You’re not alone in it,” Jonas emphasized. “Especially for those of us living with Type 1 diabetes, active lifestyle, there will be moments where it doesn’t go quite as planned. And I’ve been supported by a lot of great people in that regard.”
When asked about what advice he would pass on to other people with diabetes, Jonas said that while it is important to maintain an active lifestyle for glucose levels, it is even more important to remain active for your mental health. “I think the other part of this that we don’t speak about a lot is the mental health effects of actually living with this disease were greater than I realized at the time. So, getting outside and staying active was not something I did to make sure that my glucose was good but because it made me feel good. And I think if you can prioritize both your mental health and your diabetes, then that’s a kind of good hand combination there.”
“And then the other thing is just staying on top of it as best as you can but not getting overwhelmed or frustrated with yourself. It’s really easy to fall into those moments where you think that you’re the reason or that you didn’t do something right, and no good outcome is gonna come from that,” the singer explained. “So, stay positive where you can, and when you know that you could have handled a situation better, learn from it and next time will not be as bad.”
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