Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Impaired glucose tolerance means that blood glucose is raised beyond normal levels, but not high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis.
With impaired glucose tolerance you face a much greater risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Treating impaired glucose tolerance may help to prevent diabetes development and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a key way of treating impaired glucose tolerance. Other ways to lower the risk include losing weight if you are overweight, and also taking regular physical exercise.
What is a normal blood glucose level?
Blood glucose levels are the amount of glucose in the blood, and normal blood glucose levels range from between 4-8 mmol/L. Blood glucose levels are often higher after eating and lower first thing in the morning.
How often does impaired glucose tolerance develop into diabetes?
1-3 out of every 4 people with impaired glucose tolerance will develop diabetes within a decade.
What else does impaired glucose tolerance leave you at risk of?
What defines having impaired glucose tolerance?
The WHO (World Health Organisation) indicates that impaired glucose tolerance may be present if people have:
- Blood glucose of 7.8 mmol/L or more but less than 11.1mmol/L after a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test OGTT (see below).
How common is impaired glucose tolerance?
Because there are no symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance, many people have the condition and are unaware of it. Diabetes UK estimates that some seven million people in the UK have impaired glucose tolerance.
Causes of impaired glucose tolerance?
Various factors increase the risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance including: being overweight or obese, having a family history of diabetes, doing little physical activity, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol and gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance and how is it diagnosed?
People who have impaired glucose tolerance often exhibit zero symptoms.
Often, IGT is diagnosed when doctors conduct blood tests for another reason. IGT is diagnosed using a glucose tolerance test (GTT).
This test deciphers how your body is processing glucose.
How is impaired glucose tolerance treated?
IGT is treated using lifestyle changes and drug treatments.
Losing weight, exercising more and eating a healthy, balanced diet all help to treat IGT.
Stopping smoking, sticking to the recommended weekly alcohol limits and keeping blood pressure in a normal range all help to lower the risk of IGT developing into type 2 diabetes.
Some drug treatments are prescribed for IGT.