Tom Hanks: Sooner diabetes than a high school body?

As Walt Disney in the movie Saving Mr. Banks Tom Hanks made sure the wonderful tale of the flying childrens nurse Mary Poppins reaches the screen. The steep career of the actor himself is almost as much of a fairy-tale as well, born 1956 near to Hollywood and even taught acting in the cradle. When Tom finally obtained the lead role in the movie Forrest Gump, his fate as a Hollywood actor was sealed and he could scarcely save himself from all the offers he got.

His movie Cast Away in particular stuck in my mind, where he survives for months on end alone on a desert island, where a volleyball becomes his best “friend”. But not only in the role of a castaway or as Forrest Gump does the famous movie actor have problems with his health, unfortunately in real life too.

Over twenty years ago Tom Hanks was told his blood sugar level was always too high, that this would get worse over the years and lead to diabetes. But this did not prevent the Hollywood star from delivering one successful movie after another, or from slipping again and again into a wide range of roles, requiring him to really change the way he looked or even put on or lose weight as well.

Last spring his physician told him the elevated blood sugar levels had now got so bad he had type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic problem, which constantly leads to an abnormal increase in blood sugar levels, often making life-long therapy necessary. In type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas produce not enough insulin due to a disorder, in type 2 diabetes they produce enough, but the body’s target cells for the hormone insulin are no longer receptive to insulin, so it cannot reduce the blood sugar level.

To work against type 2 diabetes, eating habits as near to the Stone Age as possible, cutting down on food with starch and sugar is recommendable. For most folk affected weight reduction is also advised. But Tom is sooner staying true to the line in Forrest Gump, boasting in the movie he can eat more than a million chocolate candies after his mother taught him life is like a box of candy – you never know, what you’re gonna get…

And so Tom told Hollywood magazine that he did not intend to follow weight reduction: “You can regulate diabetes through healthy eating. My physician told me, when I weigh what I used to in high-school again, then I will be completely healthy and no longer have type 2 diabetes. To which I simply said, then I would sooner have type 2 diabetes.” Of course weight loss can be hard work, but it is surely more pleasant than the sicknesses that result from diabetes and the therapies these then require.

Naturally not all who eat unhealthily get type 2 diabetes. Organs can be affected differently, according to family history. We can, however, attempt to improve it: For now there are attempts to resolve diabetes and also other organ disorders and problems with the body’s own fat stem cells. And so damaged cells in the body can be stimulated to reproduce by growth factors emitted from these stem cells. With type 1 diabetes stem cell therapy may also cut down bad regulation and result in less damage to the pancreas.

For therapy with the body’s own stem cells a small amount of fat is taken by means of liposuction using microcannulas in work done by hand. Stem cells are extzracted from the fat obtained in this way and are returned to the body afterwards either IV or injected straight into the organ with the problem, where they can have a regenerative effect. Local anesthesia is sufficient for this and the surgery can be done on an outpatient basis.

Aside from this weight loss with well structured eating is still advisable, even if Tom does not want to know anything about it til now. But it is not always eating alone which is the problem when people have too much weight: Hormone imbalance is usually present, which can be balanced out using bioidentical hormones, which have the same structure as human hormones. So it is easier usually, by changing your eating habits and lifestyle, and with structured training program, to reach the ideal weight and to stick to it long term.

Maybe Tom Hanks should still think back then, if not to high school days, but still then to his time filming Cast Away: In the role of the castaway on a desert island the Hollywood actor had a really slim and slender appearance.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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