When the “Cool” singer was just 13 years old, he lost a lot of weight, and couldn’t quench his thirst for sugary soda, People Magazine reports. One of his brothers noticed his symptoms, and he went to the doctor. There, they discovered his blood sugar levels were 917, nine times the normal level. Increased thirst, unintended weight loss, and high blood pressure are all indicative of diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic.
“I was very close to a coma,” he told Cigar Aficionado. “Like a day away, if I hadn’t gone to the hospital.” Jonas, who is now 27, was then officially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Currently, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK is estimated to be 3.5 million, according to Diabetes UK in 2015. A diagnosis means the pancreas has a hard time creating insulin, creating little to none on its own. Insulin is a hormone, which lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, among other things.
The disease requires lifelong insulin therapy, Mayo Clinic notes, which can be administered through injections or a pump you wear. At first, the idea of relying on this medication worried Jonas, he said.
“I kept asking my parents — am I going to be okay?” he revealed. “I was just so concerned that it was going to limit my ability to do all the things I wanted to do. I was very scared — it’s a big life change.”
But after 14 years of managing his disease, he’s learned that changing his life to accommodate his diagnosis wasn’t as difficult as he worried it would be. Today, he uses an insulin pump, and works hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle,
“I found out very quickly it’s a very manageable disease,” he said. “As long as you’re really diligent.”