Tom Hanks is without a doubt one of the most beloved figures in Hollywood. The star of such beloved movies as “Forrest Gump”, ”The Da Vinci Code”, and ”Bridge of Spies”, Hanks has won numerous prestigious awards over the course of his career. He is also universally beloved by his Hollywood peers, who have only the nicest things to say about him.
However, even though the world admires him for his extraordinary talent, he often describes himself as ‘a total idiot’. Why would he say this?
Well, the reason is his type 2 diabetes diagnosis, for which he takes the full blame. He could’ve prevented it, but didn’t take the necessary steps. And he’s not the only one.
Despite the fact that 30.2 million US adults live with diabetes, many people still don’t understand the mechanism behind this disease, which puts a strain on their ability to prevent and manage it.
Diabetes: An Overview
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose levels are too high. Generally, the level of insulin that your pancreas produces should be enough to ensure that glucose enters your cells so that they can use it as a source of energy.
However, some people’s bodies aren’t capable of producing insulin or using it effectively. Over time, this can lead to many health problems, the most common of which is diabetes.
The latest research from the American Diabetes Association shows that the cost of diagnosed diabetes is $327 billion, $237 billion of which is related to direct medical costs, while the remaining $90 billion is associated with decreased productivity.
Of course, the biggest issue isn’t of economical nature. Diabetes can lower the quality of your life by a lot. Moreover, there are many possible complications of diabetes, including heart disease and stroke.
The disease can take multiple forms, two of which are the most common – type 1 and type 2. Since many don’t really understand the difference, let’s take a look at both types.
Type 1 Diabetes – A Rare, But Severe Occurrence
People suffering from type 1 diabetes don’t have the ability to produce insulin at all. This is because the immune system, which is supposed to fight infection, attacks the pancreatic cells that make insulin. As a result, people need to seek external sources of insulin on a daily basis.
This is a more serious form of the disease that can’t really be prevented or completely cured. Still, this is a fairly rare type of the disease, with only around 5% of American diabetics suffering from it.
Even though a definite cause of the disease is unknown, experts believe that genetic and environmental factors play the biggest role.
The good news is that we might be getting closer to a better way of managing the disease. Researches are currently working on a device called artificial pancreas, which would be able to substitute the function of the real one.
Type 2 Diabetes – Common, But Avoidable
Type 2 diabetes is far less severe than the type 1, as the body of a person suffering from it is still able to produce some insulin. The issue is that there’s not enough of it or that it’s not used properly. There are several factors that contribute to its development, the most common being obesity, lack of exercise, and insulin resistance.
Having a poor lifestyle can greatly increase your chances of developing this disease. This is exactly what happened to Tom Hanks. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in many different ways, according to the DDPOS.
So where did Tom Hanks go wrong? Let’s see what he has to say about this.
What Caused Tom Hanks’ Type 2 Diabetes?
In 2013, during his appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman”, Tom Hanks announced that he had type 2 diabetes. This is when everyone really understood why he looked a lot different than he used to. He was a lot slimmer than everyone knew him and it wasn’t for a movie role or just the looks.
Many people believe that it was his obesity that led to the diagnosis. Even though it was definitely a large factor, it might not have been the determining one.
Over the course of his career, Tom Hanks has had more weight changes than most actors. He shed 26 pounds for his role in “Philadelphia”, 55 for “Cast Away”, and gained 30 pounds for his role as a baseball coach in ”A League of Their Own”. These are only some of his biggest weight changes, but there were definitely more of them.
Experts have debated whether these weight fluctuations had influence on Tom Hanks’ type 2 diabetes. Hanks states that these changes have likely been a big factor. So no, obesity isn’t the only thing that led to the diagnosis, but there are still many things that he could have done to prevent the disease from happening.
He knows this, which is why he considers himself to be a ‘total idiot’. He states that he’s always been aware of his weight, but refused to listen to doctors’ advice related to his weight issues.
Today, at 62 years old, Hanks is still battling the disease, mainly by adopting healthy lifestyle changes.
How Not to Make the Same Mistake
Hanks regrets not living a healthier life. If only he’d been controlling his weight, he might’ve never developed diabetes in the first place. If there’s one good thing that came out of this, it is the increased awareness of the disease. Hopefully, many people will learn from Hanks’ mistakes and do everything they can to stay healthy.
Here are some simple tips that you should follow in order to minimize the chance of getting diabetes:
- Track your diet and exercise – Try to monitor the foods you eat, as well as your level of exercise. This will allow you to create a balanced lifestyle that can help you prevent the development of diabetes.
- Stress less – Stress hormones like cortisol have a large influence on blood glucose levels. Even though stress might not cause diabetes, it can increase your chances of getting it.
- Look for the warning signs – There are many symptoms of both types of diabetes. If you think you might be at risk, pay close attention to them, and visit your doctor if you notice any.
The Final Word
This should be enough to ensure that you remain diabetes-free. If you suffer from obesity, you might want to adopt some healthy lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes from developing. Even if you don’t have weight issues, diabetes can happen to pretty much anyone, so it’s best to do everything in your power to prevent it.