Diabetes is a serious disease that is associated with high blood sugar levels. Impaired glucose tolerance is considered prediabetes when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but too low to be classified as diabetes. People with impaired glucose tolerance are at an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Learn about Impaired Glucose Tolerance, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and more.
Types of prediabetes
Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are high but too low to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes can be detected in one of the following two ways:
- Impaired glucose tolerance: High glucose in a diabetes screening tool called an oral glucose tolerance test, which involves measuring blood sugar levels before and after drinking a certain sugary drink.
- Impaired fasting glucose levels: High glucose in a diabetes screening tool called a fasting glucose test, which involves measuring blood sugar levels after a person has not eaten or drunk (other than water) for at least eight hours.
Symptoms of Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Approximately 8 out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know they have it. This is because symptoms may not appear for many years, or even until the condition develops into diabetes.
However, there are warning signs and risk factors for prediabetes, including:
Impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes, is usually caused by being overweight or obese. This may be a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
The diabetes screening tool, the oral glucose tolerance test, is used to diagnose impaired glucose tolerance. This blood test checks the glucose level after fasting for eight or more hours and compares it with the results of another blood test that checks the glucose level two hours after drinking a certain sugary drink.
If your fasting glucose readings are between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), this is considered impaired glucose tolerance or prediabetes. Lower levels are normal and higher levels are considered diabetic.
A diagnosis of impaired glucose tolerance means that you have prediabetes, a precursor that can lead to diabetes. Prediabetes usually does not require treatment. Instead, the best treatment if you have impaired glucose tolerance is lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and eating the right amount of healthy foods. In addition, it is recommended that you be closely monitored in case medication is eventually needed.
Many people (up to 80%) with prediabetes don’t know they have it, so they don’t know about the necessary lifestyle changes needed to prevent diabetes.
About 25% of people who are diagnosed with prediabetes are diagnosed with diabetes within five years. However, with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, and weight loss, the risk of developing diabetes is reduced to 58% for people under 60 and to 71% for people over 60.
The fight against glucose intolerance includes lifestyle changes related to diet and exercise in the hope of reversing prediabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes.
Some lifestyle changes that will help speed up weight loss and prevent diabetes include:
- Increase physical activity
- Avoiding sugary and processed foods
- To give up smoking
- Refusal of alcohol
Prediabetes and diabetes diagnoses can also lead to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. It is very important for people with impaired glucose tolerance to seek support for any mental health issues they may have.
Impaired glucose tolerance is prediabetes, which means that blood sugar levels are higher than normal but lower than what is required for a diagnosis of diabetes. The condition is diagnosed based on an oral glucose tolerance test, which analyzes and compares blood sugar levels after fasting and drinking a certain sugary drink.
Prediabetes can be treated by increasing physical activity, making dietary changes, and losing weight. These lifestyle changes help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Many people with prediabetes can make the necessary changes to improve their health and reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
Word from Verivell
Suspecting, diagnosing, and living with Impaired Glucose Tolerance can be difficult, especially when making lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes isn’t always easy. If you or someone you know is experiencing this condition, help is available. You can change habits and behaviors, lose weight, and reverse impaired glucose tolerance.
Frequently asked Questions
Is it possible to restore impaired glucose tolerance?
Yes. Increasing physical activity levels and making dietary changes, such as eating fewer processed and sugary foods, can lower blood sugar levels and reverse impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes. Implementing these lifestyle changes will also reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Is impaired glucose tolerance the same as prediabetes?
Yes. Prediabetes is when glucose levels are too high to be considered normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Depending on the diagnostic test used to check glucose levels, prediabetes is referred to as Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Impaired Fasting Tolerance. Impaired glucose tolerance means that the glucose level on an oral glucose tolerance test is high.
What is Impaired Glucose Tolerance During Pregnancy?
The oral glucose tolerance test is the standard test done during pregnancy to detect gestational diabetes. Impaired glucose tolerance during pregnancy means that blood sugar levels are elevated. These levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose gestational diabetes. This means that there is an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.