Things You Must Know about Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)

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Diabetes is now declared as a lifestyle disease, and India has been declared global diabetes capital. While there are some who get diabetic genetically, the incidence of diabetes that is not genetically inherited is on the rise. This is because of various changes, and with awareness increasing, more and more people are into regular sugar level checks at a younger age. There are still cases where diabetes is accidentally discovered, but there are quite a few cases of close monitoring aimed at the early discovery. This introduced the situation known as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

Impaired Glucose Tolerance

What is IGT?

It is a condition prior to full-blown diabetes, wherein the patient’s sugar levels are consistently above normal. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have come up with diagnostic criteria and classification systems to describe the various categories of IGT.  

Testing for IGT:

  1. Testing must be done in a laboratory setting and not done randomly at home. 
  2. There could be isolated cases of IGT, and so doing a subsequent test to confirm the reproducibility of the results is mandatory before declaring someone as having IGT.  
  3. For someone to be declared as having IGT, the sugar levels must be higher than normal over 2 consecutive tests with the tests being done over an 8-week gap.
  4. Prior to testing the blood sample, the patient should be given 75 g of sugar and tested after 2 hours.

Risks of having IGT

As this is a prediabetic stage, if nothing is done, it will progress towards diabetes. Many people consider IGT as a prediabetic condition, and so preventive steps can help progression to diabetes. Since diabetes increases the risk of heart, kidney, and other functions, the patient should also get these tested to check for any abnormalities.

Management

As with regular diabetes, a prediabetic condition also should be managed with lifestyle modification and not just with medications. Some of the ways are:

  1. Diet:  Refined sweets should be removed from your menu and replaced with loads of vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, dairy products, fish, etc.  Avoid packaged and processed foods.
  2. Avoid refined sugar products: Avoid food items like chocolates, pastries, artificial juices, soda, etc. These contain mostly water and sugar with artificial flavors and often are of no nutritional value.
  3. Get active: As one is being diagnosed with pre-diabetes, it is time to finally start getting physically active and bring the sugar levels under control. Lack of exercise is one of the reasons for increased sugar levels, and if IGT is diagnosed, it is time to get active and start the workout.
  4. Ask your doctor for medications: There are cases where a small dose of anti-diabetic medication can help bring the IGT to normal levels.  The doctor would be the best person to decide this.

Once you have IGT, keep a constant watch on your sugar levels, as it is an indication that one is likely to develop diabetes.

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