TARZANA (CBSLA.com) — Actor Tom Hanks has joined the growing number of Americans who are battling diabetes.

The A-list star made the announcement he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes on Monday’s “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Dr. Norman Lavin, a top endocrinologist and Clinical Director of Education at UCLA, said the disease is a health epidemic.

Lavin told KCAL9’s Serene Branson that 35 million people in the United States have Type 2 diabetes, which is the kind that develops due to decreased insulin sensitivity. Another 40 to 50 million have pre-diabetes.

“By the year 2050, probably over 50, 60 percent of the population will have diabetes,” said Lavin.

Lavin, however, said his patients are proof it can be managed with exercise and better eating habits.

“It’s really not difficult, but it’s motivation and the understanding that you’re going to prevent complications and you’re going to live longer,” he said.

Steve Sadinsky, of Van Nuys, was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and then diabetic.

“I thought it was a mistake. I didn’t believe it was me. But then again, I was much heavier than I am now, and I didn’t realize how heavy I was,” he said.

Sadinsky has dropped 27 pounds through diet, exercise and medicine, and is in remission.

“Everybody comes to me and says they’re too busy to do this or they can’t do that. If you’re going to the bathroom that’s right next to you, find one on the 10th floor and go upstairs. Exercise,” said Lavin.


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