Viola Davis on confronting prediabetes and becoming her own health advocate

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

Her operate has received her the rare triple crown of acting—an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award—and she’s even received a Tony twice. 

A short while ago diagnosed with prediabetes, Davis has taken on a new function as an advocate for diabetic issues education and learning and recognition. 

Davis spoke with NIH MedlinePlus journal about her new outlook on health and her enthusiasm for educating other folks.

How did you react to your prediabetes analysis? 

I was frozen and in shock when I got the analysis. I thought of myself to be a quite healthier lady. I assumed I watched what I ate. I exercised. I was not chubby. 

On the lookout again now, I see I possibly experienced a whole lot of preconceived notions about diabetic issues. There is a history of diabetic issues in my family members. My sisters, my good aunt, and other members of my family members have sort two diabetic issues. 

Did you discuss diabetic issues in your family members?

My sisters would converse amongst them selves about getting diabetic issues and using medication. But no just one at any time talked about what could be accomplished to reduce it. There were being a whole lot of fallacies and outdated wives’ tales about it. They would refer to diabetic issues as “You got the sugar.” And folks would say issues like “Stop ingesting way too significantly sugar before you get the sugar.” 

We by no means experienced that proactive dialogue about measures to reduce getting the analysis.

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

What have you accomplished due to the fact your analysis?

Realizing that I have prediabetes has empowered me. I failed to want to get entire-blown sort two diabetic issues. Fortunately, I experienced the methods and the existence of intellect to do the exploration to learn what to do to decrease my blood sugar ranges.

“Realizing that I have prediabetes has empowered me.”

– Viola Davis 

I started off to appear at almost everything I was ingesting. Due to the fact I’m this sort of an terribly busy person, I was not always considering about what I was placing in my mouth. I’m a mother of a younger daughter, and from time to time I would eat what she ate for the reason that I’m on the operate. Then there was snacking. And even nevertheless I don’t eat significantly alcoholic beverages, I essential to element that in, way too. 

I failed to know that I really should be monitoring my blood sugar ranges and checking my A1C ranges each 3 months. I failed to even know what that was. It is hard to hold observe of it all and remain on prime of it all. But I’ve managed to do it.

What is your information to people who are going through sort two diabetic issues?

Education and learning is flexibility. It is. Go to your health treatment provider and get your blood glucose ranges tested. And if you have diabetic issues, push them to enable you deal with it. If you have prediabetes, check with them to arm you with what you have to have to do to reduce getting diabetic issues. You may possibly be genetically predisposed to it, but there are issues within just your ability that you can do to reduce or deal with the sickness. That is why I worked with Merck on the documentary “A Touch of Sugar” to enable raise recognition and empower other folks.*

It’s also essential that we quit stigmatizing folks who have a prediabetes or diabetic issues analysis. There is a stigma that it only afflicts people who convey it on them selves. And there is a stigma that folks with diabetic issues are just ingesting what they want, are out of handle, and don’t treatment about their bodies. That is just not the situation.  

Glimpse at me. I worked out four, five, six times a week, watched what I ate, and I got it. It’s a continual sickness that really should not be dismissed for the reason that of myths and stigma.

Can you converse about the great importance of diabetic issues exploration, like that supported by the Countrywide Institutes of Health and fitness?

A lot more exploration to find out enhanced therapies and new resources for avoidance is so essential for the reason that of the sheer number of folks who have the affliction and the challenges that it leads to. That is proof beneficial of the determined have to have for far more exploration.

What other professional initiatives are you doing work on?

I’m doing work on my ultimate year of the Tv sequence “How to Get Absent with Murder.” I’m also doing work on the motion picture “Suicide Squad two.”

And I’m genuinely psyched about a new motion picture I just completed for Netflix. Like the film “Fences,” this just one, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is also an adaptation of a play by August Wilson.

I’m also doing work on becoming the greatest wife and mother I can be!

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