Inside Anthony Anderson's Experience With Diabetes

"Black-ish" star Anthony Anderson is no stranger to living with diabetes. In 2001, the actor was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but was reluctant to modify his lifestyle, according to Everyday Health. When his father passed away from complications with type 2 diabetes years later, he knew it was time to take his illness seriously and take care of his health.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. It happens when the body can't use glucose (or sugar) properly, so too much sugar ends up circulating in the bloodstream (via Mayo Clinic). This happens when the pancreas doesn't create enough insulin, which regulates the cells' use of glucose, and when the cells themselves don't respond properly to the insulin and take in the sugar as fuel.

Chronic high blood sugar levels can result in circulatory, nervous, and immune system disorders, which can be dangerous, notes Mayo Clinic. Symptoms usually develop slowly and can include increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, frequent infections, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Diet changes and more exercise can help manage blood sugar.

How Anderson faced his diagnosis and took care of his health

When Anderson's father passed away, he decided he needed to make changes to the way he was living his life so he could be there for his wife and children (via Everyday Health). He started taking his health seriously — he began exercising more, cut out alcohol, went vegan for some time (and has since adopted a pescatarian diet), and eventually lost nearly 50 pounds. He faced his hesitancy around taking injectable medication, setting aside his denial of the illness and doing what he had to do to get himself well.

While Anderson has access to resources that not everyone does, like a personal trainer and home chef, he says that it's still possible to care for yourself and manage your diabetes regardless. He suggests walking around your neighborhood or taking the stairs instead of the elevator when possible — any way to get moving. Taking similar steps has helped him get his blood sugar under control and, ultimately, his diabetes.

He's now a spokesperson for the "Get Real About Diabetes" campaign and insists on the importance of being honest with yourself. He encourages those with diabetes to be real with themselves and their doctors, and recognize that they have to make the choice to get better and be healthy.