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Randy Jackson dishes Diabetes prevention

Vicki Salemi is passionate about writing. As a regular contributor to AOL, MSN and numerous sites and publications she also blogs regularly for CNBC European Business, Women for Hire and Manhattan adventures on her website www.vickisalem...

Dawg's Diabetes tips

What is up with the head Dawg, Randy Jackson? SheKnows found out firsthand. When it comes to good tunes, American Idol judge Randy Jackson knows a thing or two about the music industry. When it also comes to diabetes, he knows plenty

Randy Jackson with Nikka Costa at Clive Davis' Grammy party

Living with diabetes

What you may not know, however, is that the music industry veteran and television personality has Type-2 diabetes.

SheKnows caught up with the top dawg as he dished about early detection, lifestyle changes and that good ol' southern cooking.

"About five or six years ago I was feeling really run down," confesses the nominee of five primetime Emmy's. "I was working a lot and I thought I had a cold. I took over the counter medicines, thought I was running a fever, got really thirsty and had blurred vision. I thought it was sinuses, whatever you think you associate with a cold. Two and a half weeks into it finally my wife said you should go to the doctor or something."

Well, low and behold, Jackson did go to the doctor and what he found out surprised him but he was able to come up with a game plan which changed his life. "This was a giant wake up call for me," he says. "It should never happened to me, this always happens to someone else."

Fast fact

Keep this in mind: adults with Type-2 diabetes usually end up dying as a result of complications from heart disease or stroke.

Running with the family

Then, Jackson took personal stock and remembered his father had it and that it runs in his family.

"I thought OK, wait a minute. You're not in the best health. You're hugely overweight. You're not eating right. You're not exercising right, so I thought, 'Wow, OK now I really have to get it together.' The next day at the doctor's office he said 'look, you can manage it but there's no cure.'"

The American Idol star continues, "Those are words you don't want to hear: no cure. Then you think all of the thoughts - am I going to die? So I had to really get it together and go to a program that was going to help me with my weight management, diet management, everything. I went on oral medication and I started managing it."

And manage he did. He realized it came down to a making a decision.

Fast fact 2

There is no cure. "You can try to manage diabetes," Jackson says. "It takes work and commitment. Or, you can have some serious problems with your life - you have a choice. There's nothing that's going to cure it. It won't go away."

Randy Jackson and friends, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor

Diet is not a four-letter word

Changing his lifestyle wasn't easy but it was the only choice. "There are two words that I don't like: diet and exercise. Those words are enemies to me, to the Dawg. They present some sort of fight against for me."

Jackson at a Lakers game during their playoff runAfter all, as a boy growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he played for about twelve hours, riding his bike about five to ten miles and always got the exercise in each week. Classify it as exercise, but it didn't seem like a rigorous regimen to him at the time.

Now of course, he realizes you have to stay active so his weapon of choice is walking briskly at least one hour every day.

While he says he's had to simplify things and adapt a grazing lifestyle by eating small meals every few hours, the American Idol judge is a realist as well.

"I grew up in the South. All the foods were very rich, very sweet," he admits.

"I used to say this is not a great restaurant if there's salt and pepper on the table meaning the chef didn't taste the food you were about to eat. I also adopted the thing of grazing - so for me being a diabetic is also to keep the blood sugar levels normal and to keep them consistent. I didn't want to go famished for three to four hours at any time," Jackson says. "Whether it's having an apple here or having an almond there, I snack throughout the day so I'm never at that point where I used to be before. I'm always so hungry I could eat the horse. I usually ate the horse and somebody else's horse after that point!"

So does the Dawgman eat carbs?

Yes, but he is cognizant about portion sizes. "Portion size is so important I can't even begin to tell you."

Become fearless

Like most people, he was fearful but cautions us to bite the bullet and see the doctor because the alternative could be a whole lot worse. He dishes, "You're supposed to get a yearly check up every year - I didn't really want to go to the doctor and sometimes with men especially you don't want to go because you don't want to hear the bad news. The doctor's always the bearer of bad news, you just have to remove that myth. Remember this: that fear could kill you."

For comprehensive information about Type-2 Diabetes, log onto this website by the American Heart Association: http://www.iknowdiabetes.org/

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