Regarding death of Casey Johnson

It is truly sad that the Johnson and Johnson heir, Casey Johnson, died at the age of 30 due to diabetic complications. This young girl had billions of dollars at her feet, however, diabetes took her life. That is just beyond sad and scary at the same time for me to take in. I guess it makes me want to be even more responsible and give a heads up to everything I am told to do and make sure I get all my questions answered.

The news is saying she died from DKA, which is scary considering how many of us on that board have experienced that. I’m wondering if most of us who have been hospitalized with DKA it was during their initial diagnosis? I would think the way to avoid DKA after that is to monitor blood sugar and get help right away if you are having consistently super high numbers, certainly if they are accompanied by flu like symptoms. I’m sure the long-timers on the board can add to this.


To answer your question, I was diagnosed while DKA. I thought I had the flu, but I was dying (BG 809). Looking back, I feel incredibly stupid because the weeks leading up to DKA I had every classic symptom of diabetes. No one in my family has either type & I was 53 years old & never got as much a cold. When my cat began drinking & urinating constantly I had her tested for diabetes, but not myself.

Hard to describe how awful DKA is. Sad for Casey Johnson knowing how she suffered & how her family is suffering.

I do not know anything about this girl but I also do not watch tv. A lot of times inaccurate information comes out for ratings and reactions which is a celebrity nightmare. I was reading today what the autopsy said which I consider an accurate source.

Reminds me of how I always took care of my kids and husband but neglected myself even when signs are there. I am 56 and got diagnosed this year. Hope you are doing well.

I do know that it has affected my immune system and when I get something like respiratory it lasts forever. I was always so healthy. I wondered too how long I had diabetes before diagnosed. I always told my doc my family history but always concerned with cholesterol and blood pressure. Scary is right.

I blogged about this today (catch my post here). Instead of acknowledging this as a legitimate tragedy, in a practice that has been all-too-common, blame has been shifted away from the disease itself and extremely difficult treatment protocols to the person who had this disease. Shame on all of them, and especially the doctors who seem much too quick to blame the victim, rather than the disease or the relentless treatment protocol prescribed. Personally, I think she may have suffered from diabulemia, which would go hand-in-hand with DKA, but that is also a disorder she probably needed more than a 15 minute doctor’s appointment to deal with.

In my blog post, I also noted that it was unclear how much a fear of HYPOglycemia played in Casey Johnson’s death. But I must admit that I have knowingly allowed my own blood glucose levels to be higher than I would normally and that has nothing to do with concerns about weight, but fear of lows. When I am home alone, hypoglycemia without without symptoms is a far more immediate danger to me than the risk of any long-term complications. And it is known that Casey Johnson’s partner, MTV reality show star Tila Tequila, was away at the time of Johnson’s death.

The simple truth is as follows: a 30-year old girl, even one who had absolutely no real concern about attaining basic treatment supplies (if I had to guess, Johnson probably had an unlimited free or dirt-cheap supply of test strips at her disposal) is by no means immune to the challenges associated with a demanding disease to manage. Her death was a tragedy, and blaming her is not only inappropriate, but is most likely inaccurate as well.

Thanks, Scott, and well said. I hate the media frenzy that has no respect for people like this at such a tragic time. I read where the autopsy said she died from complications of her diabetes. It’s heartbreaking to think of someone’s life being over at 30 and could be prevented especially someone as wealthy as herself. J

I feel that ANY death that is related to diabetes is a tragedy, HOWEVER it happened. I also feel that when it comes to death of a “famous” person, we may not ever get the actual true information. However, if Ms. Johnson died from DKA that came about from her not properly managing her blood sugar than it is, in my opinion, legitimate to state this. Rather than “blaming the victim” it is useful to me to let people know that if they maintain their blood sugar (and yes, it is hard work!) then they can avoid DKA with its possible loss of life.

All I read on the news online was that the autopsy said complications from diabetes. I don’t know what anyone else heard or read. I just think news tends to sensationalize things for selling factors. A 30 yr. old dying is a tragedy no matter what. It’s even sadder to think maybe it could have been prevented especially with all her money to have the best healthcare unlike so many not covered and have diabetes.

DKA can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, one of the biggest dangers that we face is becoming ill, for example with the flu, and going into DKA as a result of the stress of the illness on our bodies, NOT not taking our insulin. I don’t know what happened in this case, of course. But when I was first diagnosed, I was in DKA, and I can tell you it is so far beyond pain and into agony…it is horrendous. My point is that DKA can happen for a variety of reasons. Casey’s death is terribly sad and tragic.

Can you explain what it felt like when you say pain and agony. I was in terrific pain a week ago and had to actually stand for an hr. thru therapy instead of sitting. I am not feeling well tonite either and it concerns me as I just had a high spike. J


Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life threatening condition when BG is very high resulting in the body being in a starvation mode because energy can’t get into the cells. There’s unquenchable thirst, vomiting, extreme lethargy & dehydration. The blood is an acidic state.

When I was in DKA, every part of my body hurt, I was throwing up constantly & felt like I was poisoned. I was near comatose at the ER. Some people do go into comas.

DKA is far more likely in Type 1s.

DKA, mine was horrid!. I was like you, Gerri. One hour from death, that is what the ER doctor said. Very awful experience. I was in ICU for 1 week and then another week on a regular floor. I was so sick even when I came home. To just brush my teeth took all of my strength, I had nerve damage to my right foot as well, that took many, many months to recover from. OOOO, makes me sick to my stomach when I think of how bad it was. Very severe case and lucky that I lived.

Once was more than enough for me, too! A week in ICU:( I was in ICU three days & it felt like forever. Was in a regular ward for another 3-4 days. Was a blur of time.

Shudder thinking about those who’ve gone through DKA multiple times. Don’t think my body could handle another DKA episode.

I was in DKA when I was first diagnosed too…and I’m a type 2. Suffering from the “flu-like symptoms” for almost 4 days…I easily mistook it from a regular bad flu. With the exception of horrible pain all over and a constant vomiting. Made me realize I have been ignoring the primary symptoms of diabetes for 2-3 months already…2 days in ICU and more days in recovery room, seems also forever. It is just an experience that one may not forget…but something we do not wish to remember…all the more go through it again!

I had all the feelings especially the painful aching. I need to tell you that I have an eating disorder that is out of hand so might be getting the same sensations from being diabetic and never eating. How high did the BG’s go? Mine keep spiking over 200 even with the increase from 1000 to 2500 mg. of metformin a day.

My gosh that sounds horrible. Were you aware you were diabetic or hadn’t been diagnosed yet?

I have had flu symptoms with no fever. Threw up past two days and so exhausted. Do you remember what your BG’s were?

My diagnosis bg was almost 500 (499 to be exact). Placed on insulin for 10 days… When discharged, I was prescribed glimiperide and metformin. A year later my doctor removed the glimiperide.