Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Impaired glucose tolerance is a pre-diabetic condition associated with insulin resistance. It may precede type 2 diabetes by many years, and its symptoms are often so mild that it is impossible to make an early diagnosis. Such a diagnosis may be made when a glucose test shows blood sugar levels that are elevated, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Those with IGT are usually advised to start monitoring their glucose levels, and follow some of the same procedures that diabetics do.

Early Diagnosis of Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Those who have this condition have a unique opportunity to prevent the onset of diabetes later in life. When armed with the knowledge that blood levels are higher than normal, the patient can learn what to do to keep blood sugar under control. Usually, diet and exercise are adequate measures. Those with a family history of diabetes, or who have other risk factors, may also be prescribed medication or supplements.

Impaired glucose tolerance is diagnosed with an oral glucose tolerance test. For this test, a person will fast for eight to 12 hours then have their blood sugar levels measured before and after taking a glucose solution. The doctor can determine whether a person is normal, has IGT, or suffers from diabetes from the glucose levels still in the blood after two hours. IGT affects about 20 million people in the United States, and up to 10 percent of them will develop diabetes at some point in their lives.

As with any medical condition, impaired glucose tolerance must be monitored carefully, particularly because there is the possibility that it may develop into a serious disease. When blood sugar is moderately elevated, supplements and a healthy lifestyle may be enough to keep the condition from worsening. There are many options at this stage, and early diagnosis can prevent problems later on.

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