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Why Nick Jonas is raising awareness for diabetes at SXSW

Superstar recording artist Nick Jonas shares his experience with diabetes and why he's using his platform to improve access to diabetes care. Nick joins Yahoo Finance Senior Reporter Allie Garfinkle from SXSW in Austin, TX to discuss how health technology like continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is easing the burden of managing diabetes.

Watch as Nick opens up about his partnership with DexCom (DXCM), fatherhood, and his struggle with diabetes.

Video transcript

NICK JONAS: When I look back on my early life living with diabetes, I didn't see it a whole lot of places. And there wasn't a big conversation around it-- or if there was, there was a lot of misunderstandings. And to be able to be a part of that awareness and educational aspect of it really means a lot to me, and to be able to speak about some of these topics that are I think so important and on top of mind for all of us.

- And for you, what role has tech played in your diabetes management? It sounds like it's been pretty important.

NICK JONAS: Has been. I've been wearing a Dexcom CGM for years now. And it's incredible to see from my early days of living with the disease back when I was 13 to kind of where we are now and how far things have come, even just in that 17 year period-- it's really encouraging. And you know, I'm basically able to live my life in a way more free way because I have the ability to see those numbers in real time and make those changes I might need to make to live that healthier and happier life.

- Well, and it seems like you've really seen the technology evolve over time.

NICK JONAS: I certainly have. In those 17 years, so much has changed. And yet, awareness about the technology is still, I think, so low.

- Well, one of the things you mentioned earlier that is your experience with diabetes was a lot about learning, trial and error. Do you think better technology can help make that process easier for people who are, say, diagnosed with type 1 now when they're really young?

NICK JONAS: Yeah. I think that whether it's diabetes management or just generally living in the world we're in today, that access to information and having it literally in the palm of your hand, I think, is an amazing tool, whether it's the internet or CGM. In this case for me, it's CGM.

And there was a lot of early learning I had to do kind of just by way of, as you said, trial and error and figuring things out, back when I was pricking my finger 10 to 12 times a day. Which, on top of the obvious physical agony of that, there's the frustration of knowing that it's a really unpredictable disease and even if you're taking the best care you think you can be for yourself, if you're testing so infrequently, then there's going to be times where there's trouble spots along the way. And so I feel really encouraged by that and by the growing conversation around all the other diabetes related topics that we were able to speak about today.

- Did you ever have a Eureka moment, the first moment where you were like, oh my god, this tech can actually help me? Do you remember the first time?

NICK JONAS: There's been a few times. And we did a whole thing around the last Super Bowl commercial around kind of magic moments. And one of mine as it relates to this and Dexcom was just the many times that I've been backstage before a show and I see the little arrow pointing down. And I know that in 20 minutes time when I'm right in the middle of one of our songs, I'm going to have a low blood sugar crash.

And I've got a really supportive group of friends, and family, and team members on the road that are all aware of it and kind of know what to do in those different situations. So I feel really supported. And I know that not a lot of people do. They don't want to open that circle up too wide, because it's a really personal thing. But I think that as much as someone is comfortable, it's really helpful to lean on the people that love you to support you through what is a pretty intense disease.

- So as we're winding down, I'd actually love to ask you, do you have any financial advice that you want to impart to your daughter? Is there any financial advice you've gotten that you've been really excited about or remembered?

NICK JONAS: You know, I'm just trying to figure out how to be a dad at this point. So the financial advice, I need a few more years to wrap my head around that. But I think--

- She's not walking out with a credit card?

NICK JONAS: Quite simply, just save. It's really important to save. I think that will always age well.