Glucose intolerance or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) indicates that the capacity of the hormone insulin to stabilize blood glucose levels is affected due to certain reasons. Pancreas produces insulin which carries blood glucose to body cells and with the help of that glucose, the cells produce energy. The person diagnosed with IGT shows normal or slightly higher fasting blood glucose (blood glucose measured after about 8 hours of fasting, generally overnight) and moderately raised blood glucose in the postprandial test (performed 2 hours after meal). This condition is also recognized as prediabetes or borderline diabetes. Impaired glucose tolerance guidelines from this article can help prevent the advancement of prediabetes.
Blood Glucose Levels
To understand normal and abnormal blood glucose levels, take a look at the following information.
- Normal Fasting Blood Sugar Range: 70 - 100 mg/dL
- Normal Postprandial Blood Sugar Range: 70 - 140 mg/dL
- Normal Blood Sugar Range for Random Testing: 70 - 125 mg/dL
- Borderline Fasting Blood Sugar Range: 100 - 126 mg/dL
- Borderline Postprandial Blood Sugar Range: 140 - 199 mg/dL
- Fasting Blood Sugar Level for Established Diabetes: More than 126 mg/dL
- Postprandial Blood Sugar Level for Established Diabetes: More than 200 mg/dL
Many symptoms of impaired glucose intolerance or prediabetes begin to show up after a person has developed prediabetes, and as this condition progresses into diabetes certain symptoms are observed, they are:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Undesired weight loss (weight loss without any efforts, or change in diet and lifestyle)
- Slow healing of wounds
- Frequent muscle cramps
- Frequent vaginal infections in women
- Tingling sensation in extremities (hands, feet or legs) as increased blood sugar damages the nerves.
- New instances of bed-wetting in children indicate need to test blood sugar levels.
- Frequent infections of skin, gums, urinary bladder and slow recovery time suggest weakening of the immune system.
- Blurred vision or any other vision problems (uncontrolled diabetes causes macular degeneration leading to complete blindness)
A simple blood test helps diagnose glucose intolerance. A fasting blood sugar test and postprandial blood sugar test help to know whether a person has borderline diabetes. Slightly higher than normal blood sugar levels in two consecutive tests indicate that the person has developed glucose intolerance. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) and Intravenous Glucose Tolerance Test (IGTT, rarely used) are also performed in the clinics. OGTT refers to a procedure wherein the patient is given a liquid containing a fixed amount of glucose, after overnight fasting. A blood sample is taken and examined before and every 30-60 minutes after drinking the glucose solution.
Guidelines for Prediabetes Management
Those who want to control or manage prediabetes, should first take a look at the common causes and risk factors of prediabetes.
- Lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle affects hormonal levels
- Aging slows down the process of production of hormones and the function of hormones
- Overweight, obese people are more likely to develop diabetes
- Those having hypertension are likely to develop diabetes
- Genetic disposition, family history of diabetes plays an important role in development of diabetes.
- Those who follow a high carb diet are more likely to have diabetes.
Diabetes detected in the starting stage is easier to manage or even reverse. Simple dietary changes and regular exercises can help manage the situation. Following a low carb, low glycemic diet can help control prediabetes. Eating lots of low glycemic fruits and vegetables is recommended. Browse through another article 'borderline diabetic diet' on buzzle, for more information. If the diabetes in early stage is controlled with diet, the person will be less exposed to the side effects of medications.
A balanced diet that contains limited amounts of carbs, fats, protein and cholesterol should be followed. Instead of simple carbs, complex carbs should be consumed. Avoid bad fat like saturated fat and include good fat like olive oil, fish oil, flaxseeed oil, etc. Include fish and lean meat in diet. Utmost care should be taken while designing the diet as one should not develop nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, the person should consult a doctor about the diet, exercise, and medicines. The needs may vary from person to person.
The above guidelines would be helpful in managing impaired glucose tolerance. If you have been diagnosed with IGT, you can definitely prevent the situation from worsening. Ignoring IGT symptoms or not realizing the symptoms of IGT, not following the doctor's instructions can result in life-threatening complications like kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy, blindness, peripheral neuropathy, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and permanent disability.