Recently, Tom Hanks announced on the Tonight Show with David Letterman that, after years of borderline blood sugar levels, the actor had been confirmed to have type 2 diabetes. A media storm immediately followed. The actor, now in his mid-50s, admitted to having high blood sugar numbers for more than 20 years. In the speculation that ensued, many theorized – Hanks included – that a career filled with yo-yo dieting may have contributed to one major cause of Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance.
There are 2 major types of the diabetes, type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 90-95% of those living with the disease in the US. Type 2 diabetes results from either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the body’s inability to use insulin, also known as insulin resistance.
Diabetes is directly related to the way the body processes food, and is therefore considered a metabolic disease. When digested, most food is broken down into glucose, which is the type of sugar found in the blood, and the body’s main source of fuel. When glucose passes into the bloodstream, it is used by cells for growth and energy and, with the aid of insulin, enters into the cells.
The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach which produces the hormone insulin. If this hormone is not present, or not present in adequate amounts, the body does not properly utilize glucose. When food is processed in a normal body, the pancreas automatically produces an adequate amount of insulin to move glucose from bloodstream into the cells. For those with diabetes, however, the pancreas does not produce the proper amount of insulin, or the cells don’t respond correctly to the insulin. This causes glucose to accumulate in the blood, overflow and exit the body in urine. In this process, then, the body effectively flushes its main source of fuel without having utilized it.
Yo-yo dieting, as weight cycling is commonly referred to, has long been considered a potential contributing factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes. With regard to Hanks’ case, a CBS News medical contributor suggested the extreme weight fluctuations the actor experienced may have played a role in his diagnosis. She stated, “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.”
While weight fluctuation may play a role, those who are overweight or obese run a greater risk in developing type 2 diabetes. And even though their attempts may result in yo-yo dieting, experts advise weight loss as the first step in decreasing the effects of the disease. Through weight loss, improved diet, and increased exercise, symptoms of type 2 diabetes may decrease – even, possibly, reverse, credited to “a partial recovery of the insulin-producing power of the pancreas combined with a drop in insulin resistance.”
Whether type 1 or type 2 diabetes, Symbius Medical can assist you with all your diabetic supply needs and have them shipped directly to your door. Our customer service department is available to answer your questions and we will even take care of processing your insurance claim with your primary or secondary insurance provider. We make it easy to reorder your diabetic supplies too. Contact our customer service department and learn more about our Monthly Supply Order Management Program.