Tom Hanks Has Type 2 Diabetes

Just “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get” when you have Tom Hanks as a guest on your show.

So David Letterman found out when he was talking to Hanks about his upcoming movie, Captain Phillips.

When complementing Hanks on his svelter figure, Hanks said:

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 went on to say that it is a “controllable” condition and that he is working to “maintain the temple.”

Several other celebrities have revealed that they are dealing with Type 2 diabetes, including Paula Deen, Randy Jackson and Drew Carey.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body is either unable to make, or is resistant to a insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is used to break down and store energy (in the form of glucose or “sugar”) from foods. Without insulin, blood glucose and fat levels become too high and, over time, can damage blood vessels and vital organs.

Type 2 diabetes, which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

In this form of the disease, insulin is still made (although possibly at lower levels), but the tissues have become resistant to the effects, leading to a rise in blood sugar.

It usually occurs in people who are over 40, overweight, and have a family history of the disease although it is also becoming more common in younger people, particularly adolescents.

Research indicates that type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Many risk factors make people more likely to develop the disease including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and physical inactivity.

Type 2 diabetes is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.

Diet, exercise, weight loss, and oral medications to lower blood sugar are used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

diabetes_symptomsWhat are the symptoms of Diabetes?

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual

For more information, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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