TUESDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Tom Hanks, the Academy
Award-winning actor, revealed Monday night that he has joined
millions of Americans in a new role -- that of type 2 diabetic.
Hanks, 57, was discussing his latest film on CBS' "The Late Show
With David Letterman" when he made the announcement.
"I went to the doctor and he said, 'You know those high blood sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you've graduated. You've got type 2 diabetes, young man,'" Hanks said.
Over the years, the actor's weight has bounced up and down like
Hollywood box-office ratings. And Dr. Holly Phillips, a CBS medical
contributor, said his extreme weight fluctuations may have
contributed to the diagnosis. As a baseball coach in "A League of
Their Own" (1992), Hanks added 30 pounds. For the starring role in
"Cast Away" in 2000, he reportedly shed 55 pounds to play a man
fending for himself on a deserted island after a plane crash,
Like Hanks, millions of Americans develop type 2 diabetes
gradually. The American Diabetes Association reports that 25.8
million children and adults in the United States -- or about 8
percent of the population -- have diabetes, and the overwhelming
majority has type 2 disease. However, fewer than 19 million
actually have a diagnosis.
Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes, meaning their
blood sugar levels are elevated.
People with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar levels because
they are unable to properly utilize insulin, a hormone needed to
convert food into energy. Being overweight and sedentary are
associated with development of type 2 diabetes.
Many people with type 2 diabetes can control the condition
through diet and exercise, but Hanks told Letterman he wasn't
counting on weight loss as a solution.
"My doctor said 'If you can weigh as much as you weighed in high school you will essentially be completely healthy and will not have type 2 diabetes,'" said Hanks. "And I said, 'Well, I'm gonna have type 2 diabetes cause there is no way I can weigh as much as I did in high school.'"
Hanks said he weighed 96 pounds in high school.
Diabetes medication, which can include pills and/or insulin
injections, is prescribed for those who cannot control their blood
sugar levels. It is not known what Hanks' doctor is
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications such as
heart and kidney disease, and amputation.
Dr. Jacob Warman, chief of endocrinology at Brooklyn Hospital
Center in New York City, said: "Diabetes is a long-term disease
that can be managed though diet, exercise and medication. Because
people often fail at diet and exercise requirements, we also put
patients on medication right away. People with diabetes must stay
away from simple sugars and eat complex carbohydrates. New
medications, such as Metformin, have also shown to be effective in
preventing complications and the need to go on insulin."
The American Diabetes Association has more on the
prevalence of diabetes.
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