Legendary actress Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday at the age of 80 of pneumonia, a common complication suffered by diabetics who are more vulnerable to the infection, a top expert says.
“People with diabetes are more susceptible to infections, and that includes pneumonia,” Dr. Marc Leavey tells Newsmax Health.
“When they get pneumonia, it is easy for them to spiral downwards,” adds Leavey, an internist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 33, and became known not only for her ability to bear the disease with grace but also for her work in raising millions of dollars to fight it.
“Diabetes takes a toll on the heart, kidneys, eyes, and the extremities, and the fact that she lived an active life until the age of 80 is remarkable,” says Leavey.
“In fact, her ability to live the kind of life she did with it should be viewed as an inspiration.”
It’s estimated that between 1.25 and three million Americans have Type 1diabetes, formerly known as “juvenile diabetes.”
“Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that metabolizes food into energy.
Only about 10 percent of the world’s diabetics have Type 1 diabetes – the remaining 90 percent have diabetes Type 2, which causes insulin to become less effective.
“Both types of diabetes damage the body, affecting particularly the heart, eyes, kidneys, and the extremities, making it a leading cause of amputations,” says Leavey.
Moore was known to suffer vision problems and in May 2011 she underwent elective surgery to remove a benign tumor of the lining tissue of the brain.
She was also said to suffer from a variety of other ailments, including heart and kidney problems, news reports say.
Moore suffered the loss of her son Richie, who died in an accidental shooting at the age of 24, and recounted her struggle to deal with his death in her 1995 memoir “After All,” which also chronicled her struggle with alcoholism.
She detailed her life with diabetes in her second book “Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes.”
In her private life, Moore’s mission was to raise awareness and funds for juvenile diabetes, and her frequent visits to lobby Congress helped turn increase research funding for the disease from millions to billions of dollars.
On Wednesday, JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, paid homage to Moore on Twitter by tweeting “Our deepest sympathies to Mary Tyler Moore’s family on her passing. We honor her commitment to a world without #T1D.”
Her family said her death, at Greenwich Hospital, was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia, The New York Times reported.
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