Sherri Shepherd Diabetes: 5 Things To Know About ‘The View’ Host’s Type 2 Diabetes

By Philip Ross on May 17, 2013 4:04 PM EDT

sherri shepherd diabetes
Sherri Shepherd, third from right, in a 2008 “The View” episode featuring then-Sen. Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle. (Photo: Reuters)

In Sherri Shepherd's new book, "Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes (Even If You Don't Have It)," the comedian chronicles her struggles with Type 2 diabetes, and shares details about how she combats it.

The 41-year-old co-host of "The View" was formally diagnosed with the disease in 2007. The Daily Mail reports that she experienced lethargy, numbness in her feet, blurred vision and was always thirsty.

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The 5 foot 1 inch-tall, 157-pound comedian weighed 197 pounds a few years ago. And even though her doctor reportedly told her she had to change her habits or risk losing a foot, Shepherd just couldn't curb her insatiable appetite for "white foods," things like pancakes, pasta and sugary cereal.

Over time, Shepherd worked with her doctor to develop a program to get her diabetes under control.

"If you had told me a few years ago that I'd be liking kale, I'd have laughed you out of the room," Shepherd said in an interview with US News. She told US News that she ignored her diabetes for years because most of her family also had it. They even had a euphemism for it -- "the sugar."

"When you have a term called 'the sugar,' it sounds kind of cute," she told US News. "So for years, I ate, because that's what I was taught: If something was going wrong in your life, there was a peach cobbler to fix it."

But Type 2 diabetes, which affects millions of Americans, is anything but sweet.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, as of 2010, nearly 26 million people, or roughly 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which accounts for about 10 to 15 percent of all diabetes cases in the U.S., is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and usually affects thin people.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, formerly known as adult onset diabetes, is the most prevalent type of diabetes and affects heavier individuals.

Here are five things to know about Sherri Shepherd's type 2 diabetes:

Diabetes is all about insulin
Insulin is the body's peptide hormone, produced in the pancreas, which affects our metabolism. It works by converting glucose from food into energy. When we eat, our bodies break down all the sugars and starches into glucose, which is then absorbed by the cells and used as energy.

In Type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, the American Diabetes Association, or ADA, reports. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the body's cells, diabetic complications occur.

Type 2 diabetes is preventable
Type 2 diabetes is preventable. A federally funded study from the Diabetes Prevention Program, or DPP, showed that if a person decreases their dietary fat and calorie intake and loses 5 to 7 percent of their weight from exercise, he can delay and even prevent Type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC.

Eat right. Be active. It's that simple.

Some groups are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than others
Some people are more at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than others. African Americans were found to be most at risk for developing diabetes, which affects 12.6 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, compared to 7.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Additionally, men over 20 have a slightly higher incidence of diabetes than women over 20.

Symptoms of diabetes include blindness and amputation
Sixty percent of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations are for people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. It is also the number one cause of new cases of blindness for people aged 20 to 74.

Diabetes is also the leading cause of kidney failure. Additionally, about 60 percent of diabetes patients have some kind of nervous system damage.

The cost of diabetes in the U.S. is in the billions of dollars
Estimates put the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. for the year 2012 at $245 billion.

For people with diabetes, their average medical costs were 2.3 times higher than what their expenditures would be without diabetes.

Read more from iScience Times:

Marijuana Lowers Diabetes Risk: Does Smoking Pot Prevent Diabetes?

Diabetes Hit Record Numbers, But Half Remain Undiagnosed

When It Comes To Diabetes, Being Heavier Is An Advantage

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