While everyone is at risk for COVID-19, certain groups of people are at greater risk of developing the severe respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Specifically, seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems and preexisting health conditions, including diabetes, chronic lung disease and heart disease, are more likely to develop COVID-19.
Halle Berry falls into the latter category of individuals most at risk. The actress, who is living with diabetes, is taking the necessary precautions to protect herself, according to Variety.
“I do feel at risk,” Berry, age 54, said in an interview with the entertainment industry magazine. “I’m very strict about quarantining and who is in my bubble. We have a whole section of the house: When you go out in the world and buy something, it has to sit in this purgatory.”
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), data about whether people living with diabetes are more likely to contract the new coronavirus than the general population is lacking. However, people with diabetes who do develop COVID-19 may face worse health outcomes, including more severe symptoms and complications. The ADA recommends that those with diabetes control their blood sugar levels to lower the risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
Berry was diagnosed with diabetes at age 22 after becoming ill on the set of a TV show and falling into a diabetic coma for a week, the star revealed.
“Diabetes caught me completely off guard,” Berry told the Daily Mail in 2005. “None of my family had suffered from the illness, and, although I was slightly overweight in school, I thought I was pretty healthy.”
At the time, Berry shared how nearly dying motivated her to start eating more vegetables, chicken, fresh fish and pasta.
While Berry hasn’t commented much about her condition over the years, she stirred up controversy in 2007 when she reportedly announced that she’d cured herself of type 1 diabetes and weaned herself off insulin.
However, doctors were quick to note that type 1 diabetes, which typically develops during childhood, is an incurable illness and suggested that the actress was probably mistaken, misinformed or misdiagnosed. Experts theorized that Berry likely has type 2 diabetes. But she has never confirmed which type of the blood sugar disorder she has.
Berry told Variety that she broke three ribs on the set of John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum without realizing it and didn’t feel any pain. When she suddenly couldn’t breathe, she thought she might have anything from bone cancer to osteoporosis.
“I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me when I was really physically fit,” she said. But she believes that diabetes is responsible for her injuries. “I have a propensity to fracture bones faster than other people.”
Berry also recalled cracking her ribs while filming her latest film, Bruised, in which she plays a disgraced mixed martial arts fighter. The movie, which marks her directorial debut, was worth the pain and suffering, she said.
“I didn’t want to stop because I had prepared for so long,” Berry said. “We had rehearsed; we were ready. So my mind, my director’s mind, was just—keep going. And I compartmentalized that [her injuries], and I just kept going.”
For related coverage, read “Who Is Most Susceptible to COVID-19?”