Bret Michaels Showdown With Type 1 Diabetes

Bret MichaelsBret Michaels, a 51-year-old singer and rock star, had a showdown on stage Thursday night, with what is believed to be a combination of his type 1 diabetic condition along with the noro flu virus. According to the Bret Michaels Team, he was suffering from issues pertaining to severe low blood pressure and insulin shock. Other underlying factors were dehydration, fever, and exhaustion, which led to Michaels collapse.

The collapse happened only three songs into his set. Michaels left the stage, returning only to apologetically inform his fans that he could not carry on. His guitarist of nine years, Pete Evick explained that he had never seen such a look on Michaels face. It was as if he did not know who Evick was. The team dragged him off stage, paramedics evaluated him and rushed him off to the hospital. They were performing in Manchester, NH, that evening. Evick stated that as the ambulance was about to pull away, Michaels told Evick to let the fans know that he was sorry. Evick said he was genuinely concerned for them.

Last night’s show was cancelled for Wilkes-Barre, PA, as doctors chose to continue to monitor Michaels. Tonight’s appearance  in Albany, NY, has not yet been determined. Bret  had been scheduled to play along-side The Marshall Tucker Band and The Charlie Daniels Band. Bret Michaels may be down for the count from this latest showdown with type 1 diabetes, but Bret is not an easy one to keep down. He will be back.

His performance in Verona, NY, on April 30, was a sell out. Michaels delivered with charisma and an energy level that was off the charts, as he always provides plenty of action. Fans love Michaels for many reasons. He is not just a talented musician and performer, he is a performer who loves his community. He is always reaching out as an advocate for community causes, including Pet Smart, Operation Homefront and the American Heart Association.

The American Diabetes Association has been near and dear to Bret’s heart for many years, as he has been battling diabetes since the age of six. Michaels helped raise money for the American Diabetes Foundation while he was doing his stint on the Celebrity Apprentice. During that time he also had brain surgery. Michaels has also had heart surgery and an emergency appendectomy.

Part of what endears fans to Michaels is his genuine concern for others. He is the real deal and does not hide his own struggles. Bret has made it his mission to inform children and adults as to what diabetes is all about and its effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, insulin dependent diabetes, known as  type 1 diabetes, is caused when the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables sugar to produce energy by entering the cells. Although this is considered a chronic condition, type 2 diabetes is more common and occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. This is now termed insulin resistance.

Type 1 diabetes usually shows up during childhood, but can develop in adults as well. Research has not found a cure, but it can be managed, which is what Bret Michaels has been doing. Symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, extreme hunger, increased thirst and frequent urination as well as blurred vision. A specific cause is unknown, but doctors are aware that  that bacteria and viruses which are normally fought off by the immune system will mistakenly attack the insulin producing (islet) cells in the pancreas and destroy them. Certain viruses may trigger the disease and genetics may have a role to play as well. It is almost impossible to produce insulin once the islet cells are destroyed.

Glucose, which is sugar, is a main source of energy for the cells that make up tissues and muscles. When there is no insulin to allow the glucose into the cells, the blood stream becomes saturated with sugar which can create life-threatening situations.

Risk factors point to family history and genetics, as well as some viruses and dietary factors. Complications that can be a result of the disease are kidney damage which could result in dialysis, skin and mouth conditions, heart disease,  hearing problems, osteoporosis, pregnancy complications as well as damage to nerves, eyes, and feet.

Michaels is known to be a health fanatic. He is obedient to frequently monitor his blood sugar and take precautions to maintain a healthy balance. It is important to follow proper protocol with this disease. Bret is determined to educate everyone he can with every opportunity that he has. Bret Michaels may have had a showdown on stage with type 1 diabetes, but it is certain that he plans to return with a vengeance to have his own showdown on stage against the disease.

By Jill Boyer-Adriance

CBS News
Up State Live
Ace Show Biz
Mayo Clinic