September 29, 2023

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Viola Davis on confronting prediabetes and becoming her own health advocate

4 min read

Acclaimed actress and producer Viola Davis is a legitimate triple danger as a performer. 

Her work has won her the exceptional triple crown of acting—an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award—and she’s even won a Tony two times. 

Not too long ago identified with prediabetes, Davis has taken on a new part as an advocate for diabetic issues education and awareness. 

Davis spoke with NIH MedlinePlus magazine about her new outlook on overall health and her passion for educating other individuals.

How did you respond to your prediabetes analysis? 

I was frozen and in shock when I got the analysis. I considered myself to be a quite healthier woman. I thought I watched what I ate. I exercised. I was not over weight. 

Seeking back again now, I see I possibly had a large amount of preconceived notions about diabetic issues. There is a historical past of diabetic issues in my loved ones. My sisters, my great aunt, and other customers of my loved ones have kind 2 diabetic issues. 

Did you explore diabetic issues in your loved ones?

My sisters would discuss among on their own about finding diabetic issues and having medicine. But no a person ever talked about what could be performed to prevent it. There were being a large amount of fallacies and previous wives’ tales about it. They would refer to diabetic issues as “You got the sugar.” And people today would say matters like “Cease consuming as well significantly sugar in advance of you get the sugar.” 

We by no means had that proactive dialogue about steps to prevent finding the analysis.

Viola Davis and her sisters

Actress and producer Viola Davis, with her sisters Dolores Grant (left) and Dianne Davis-Wright (suitable), at the premiere of the documentary “A Touch of Sugar.” *

What have you performed given that your analysis?

Understanding that I have prediabetes has empowered me. I didn’t want to get full-blown kind 2 diabetic issues. Luckily, I had the methods and the existence of thoughts to do the study to study what to do to decrease my blood sugar ranges.

“Understanding that I have prediabetes has empowered me.”

– Viola Davis 

I began to glance at every thing I was consuming. Since I am these types of an terribly fast paced particular person, I was not normally considering about what I was placing in my mouth. I am a mother of a youthful daughter, and sometimes I would take in what she ate due to the fact I am on the operate. Then there was snacking. And even while I never eat significantly liquor, I essential to element that in, as well. 

I didn’t know that I really should be tracking my blood sugar ranges and examining my A1C ranges each and every 3 months. I didn’t even know what that was. It is challenging to retain monitor of it all and remain on major of it all. But I have managed to do it.

What is your message to individuals who are experiencing kind 2 diabetic issues?

Instruction is freedom. It is. Go to your overall health care provider and get your blood glucose ranges tested. And if you have diabetic issues, press them to assistance you take care of it. If you have prediabetes, ask them to arm you with what you need to have to do to prevent finding diabetic issues. You may well be genetically predisposed to it, but there are matters within your electrical power that you can do to prevent or take care of the sickness. That is why I labored with Merck on the documentary “A Touch of Sugar” to assistance elevate awareness and empower other individuals.*

It really is also significant that we cease stigmatizing people today who have a prediabetes or diabetic issues analysis. There is a stigma that it only afflicts individuals who carry it upon on their own. And there is a stigma that people today with diabetic issues are just consuming what they want, are out of handle, and never care about their bodies. That is just not the scenario.  

Look at me. I labored out 4, 5, 6 periods a week, watched what I ate, and I got it. It really is a long-term sickness that really should not be dismissed due to the fact of myths and stigma.

Can you discuss about the relevance of diabetic issues study, like that supported by the Countrywide Institutes of Well being?

More study to find improved treatment plans and new instruments for avoidance is so significant due to the fact of the sheer quantity of people today who have the problem and the complications that it results in. That is proof optimistic of the determined need to have for far more study.

What other skilled assignments are you operating on?

I am operating on my last time of the Television collection “How to Get Absent with Murder.” I am also operating on the motion picture “Suicide Squad 2.”

And I am truly excited about a new motion picture I just done for Netflix. Like the film “Fences,” this a person, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is also an adaptation of a play by August Wilson.

I am also operating on being the ideal spouse and mother I can be!

* The Countrywide Institutes of Well being was not associated in the development of the venture, and reference to it does not represent or suggest endorsement by any federal agency.