Actor Anthony Anderson Discusses How to 'Get Real' With Type 2 Diabetes

  • More than 30 million adults in the United States have type 2 diabetes.
  • Actor Anthony Anderson is one of them, having been diagnosed with the condition more than 20 years ago.
  • He says he stays active by managing his condition through lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
  • Having type 2 diabetes significantly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

    In fact, heart disease and diabetes often go hand in hand.

    However, Anthony Anderson, a well-known actor and comedian, says don’t let that get you down.

    “This is not a death sentence. You can live with this disease, live comfortably, and go on about your daily life,” he told Healthline.

    You may know Anderson from TV series such as “Blackish” or “Law and Order.” Or you may have seen him in movies like “Barber Shop” or the new Netflix movie “You People.” Or even hosting the game show “To Tell The Truth.”

    Staying active with type 2 diabetes

    Anderson says he is able to keep an incredibly busy schedule while living with type 2 diabetes.

    Anderson has teamed with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to get his message out in a campaign called “Get Real About Diabetes.”

    Anderson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than two decades ago.

    “It changed my life. It slowed me down a little bit just so I could figure out what it is, what moves I needed to make next” he said. “And I wanted to know what to do to stay healthy, live with this disease, and not die from it.”

    Anderson says he discovered it came down to making lifestyle changes.

    “It’s all about smart choices,” he explained. “It’s eating better, being a little bit more active, and [being] conscious of the things that I put into my body. It’s been 20-plus years now for me as a type 2 diabetic. Now, I’ve figured out what works for me.”

    Anderson has found simple daily routines that help.

    “When I get up in the morning, I try to get all my complex carbs in during the day so I’m not overwhelmed with them at night while I’m asleep. I go to the gym” he added. “It’s all about taking it one step at a time, in moderation until it’s just a normal routine for me.”

    The connection between diabetes and heart disease

    How does diabetes affect your heart?

    Experts say over time, your high blood sugars can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control your heart.

    You are also more likely to have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol numbers.

    It’s nothing to take lightly. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

    “I learned that after being diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic,” Anderson said. “But just knowing that connection between the two should serve us to really want to get our life in order and do the things that we need to do.”

    Managing type 2 diabetes

    Nearly 35 million adults in the United States have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. About 95% of the cases are type 2 diabetes.

    “That’s about one in every ten adult Americans. These individuals can live tremendous lives,” said Dr. Helen Baron, an endocrinologist in Southern California who is working with Anderson in the “Get Real With Diabetes” campaign.

    “Diabetes in general we like to say is a three-legged stool and you want that stool to be a strong, sturdy foundation for the rest of your life,” she told Healthline. “That includes a good diet, good exercise, and good medication.”

    Baron says the first step is for patients to see their doctor and make a plan.

    “Diabetes is something you can live with. We can help our patients achieve not only the length of life they want, but the quality of life they deserve” she added.

    Celebrity influence

    It may be hard to measure the impact celebrities have on shaping public health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

    Nonetheless, Anderson says he is getting positive feedback.

    “It can save a life. It has saved lives. People stop me on the street all the time and give me their personal testimonies,” he said. “They say ‘I see how you’ve changed. I commend you on telling your story. Or they say ‘because of you I’ve lost 30 pounds, 150 pounds, 200 pounds.’”

    Anderson encourages people to go to the “Get Real” website to get information on how to live with type 2 diabetes. He shares a lot of his personal journey.

    “I will tell you the things that I did. You can see the changes that I’ve made in body transformation, in health” he explained. “So if it’s working for me, I’d like to be a living example to those in my community about the things that we should be doing to ensure a better and healthy life.”

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