Glucose intolerance includes anyone with either impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
With the World Health Organisation’s definitions for IFG and IGT, glucose intolerance is defined as:
A fasting blood glucose level of above 6.0 mmol/L or 110 mg/dl.
A blood glucose level of over 7.8 mmol/L or 140 mg/dl after 2 hours of consuming 75g of glucose.
Glucose intolerance is a hypernym for metabolic conditions which result in higher than normal blood glucose levels i.e hyperglycemia.
Western lifestyles have seen glucose intolerance becoming more prevalent year by year.
Conditions indicating glucose intolerance
Conditions which can be considered as glucose intolerance include:
- Impaired fasting glucose
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Type 2 diabetes
Symptoms of glucose intolerance
The symptoms of glucose intolerance match those of type 2 diabetes:
- Feeling very thirsty or Polydipsia
- Dry mouth or Xerostomia
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination or Polyuria
- Loss of muscle mass
However everyone will not get these symptoms and symptoms may not be so severe.
Glucose intolerance test
A number of tests can be used to diagnose forms of glucose intolerance.
Test performed to diagnose glucose intolerance include:
- Fasting plasma glucose test
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
Treatment for glucose intolerance
- Treatments for glucose intolerance will either require lifestyle changes or a combination of lifestyle changes and anti-diabetic medication.
- Lifestyle changes involve taking part in regular physical activity, aiming to lose weight, if appropriate, and cutting down on smoking and alcohol as necessary.
- Eating a balanced diet based on whole grain foods, rich in fruit and vegetables and low in sugar, salt and saturated fat
Glucose tolerance test
A glucose tolerance test measures how well your body’s cells are able to absorb glucose, or sugar, after you ingest a given amount of sugar. Doctors generally use fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c values to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and prediabetes, however, a glucose tolerance test can also be used. Doctors primarily use a glucose tolerance test to diagnose gestational diabetes.
Doctors often diagnose type 1 diabetes quickly because it usually develops quickly and involves high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, often develops over years. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and it usually develops during adulthood.
Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman who doesn’t have diabetes before pregnancy has high blood sugar levels as a result of the pregnancy. The American Diabetes Association estimates that gestational diabetes occurs in 9.2 percent of pregnancies.
Glucose tolerance test in pregnancy
Doctors should screen all women for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can cause pregnancy complications, so early detection and prompt treatment is important. If you’re pregnant, your doctor will usually recommend this test between the 24th and 28th week of your pregnancy. Your doctor may also recommend that you have this test earlier if you’re having the symptoms of prediabetes or diabetes.
Preparing for a glucose tolerance test
Preparing for the glucose tolerance test involves the following:
- Continue to eat a normal diet in the days leading up to the test.
- Consult with your doctor about any medications you’re currently taking. Some medications, such as corticosteroids, beta-blockers, diuretics, and antidepressants, can interfere with the results.
- Abstain from food for at least eight hours before the scheduled test. You may drink water, but avoid other beverages, including coffee and caffeinated tea, as these can interfere with the results.
- Avoid going to the bathroom just before the procedure because you may need to provide a urine sample.
- Bring something to read or an activity to keep you busy while you wait.