Tom Hanks’ diabetes could have been brought on by extreme dieting associated with his numerous movie roles, doctors are suggesting.
The shocking news that the Academy Award winning actor has Type 2 diabetes was revealed by Hanks himself during an appearance at The Late Show With David Letterman, after he was complimented on his slim figure.
The 57-year-old actor revealed he had been suffering for symptoms related to the disease for about 20 years, but was recently diagnosed.
Hanks, doesn’t fit what people normally associate with someone with the disease, overweight and inactive, on the contrary, the actor has always been slim and due to his job is in good physical condition.
Tom Hanks explained how he found out about the illness:
“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.'”
Tom Hanks is known for transforming his physical appearance for movie roles. In the movie Philadelphia for which he won an Oscar, he portrayed a gay man who wastes away from AIDS.
For A League Of Their Own he had to put on 30 pounds to portray a down-on-his-luck minor league baseball coach.
The extreme fluctuations in weight may have contributed to developing diabetes.
“In dramatic weight gain and dramatic weight loss, the equilibrium of the body is just completely off. So that might predispose him to developing Type 2 diabetes later.” Dr. Holly Phillips, medical contributor at CBS explains.
However, there are things Tom Hanks can do to manage his condition, “He’ll have to watch what he eats very closely, he’ll need to exercise regularly, but there’s no reason he can’t live a perfectly normal life.” Phillips says.
It is estimated that approximately 336 million people suffer from diabetes with the majority of the cases being Type 2 during which the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
The actor joked when he told Letterman his doctor asked him to weigh what he weighed in High School:
“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. I said: ‘Well, I’m gonna have Type 2 diabetes because there is no way I can weigh as much as I did in high school.'”
Letterman asked Tom Hanks what was his High School weight, the actor responded, “96 pounds. I was a very skinny boy.”