Alternate Names : Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Impaired Fasting Glucose, IGT, IFG
This is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than
normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This condition
is a warning that a person is at high risk for developing
type 2 diabetes. In fact, some
studies have shown that most people who have pre-diabetes will develop
type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Pre-diabetes is a serious health threat.
What is going on in the body?
Glucose is the main form of sugar found in the body and is a
key source of energy for the body. In most
people, an organ called the pancreas makes insulin to help control blood
glucose levels in the body. But some people become resistant to the effects
of insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the body. Recent research shows
that these higher-than-normal levels of glucose in the blood can cause
long-term damage to the body. The heart is the most likely area for damage.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
No one knows for sure what causes diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Experts do agree that there are certain risk factors, especially for type 2
diabetes and pre-diabetes. Obesity, lack of physical exercise, and age are three
of the strongest risk factors. The following guidelines can be used to determine a
person's risk for developing pre-diabetes:
Anyone who is overweight and age 45 or older should be tested for pre-diabetes
during the next visit to the doctor.
Those age 45 and older whose weight falls within healthy levels should ask their
doctors about testing for pre-diabetes.
People who are overweight but younger than age 45 may need testing for pre-diabetes
if other diabetes risk factors are present. Other risk factors include:
family history of diabetes
high blood pressure
history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
low HDL cholesterol level with high triglycerides
member of a high-risk ethnic group
People whose blood glucose levels are in the healthy range
should be retested every 3 years. Those who test positive for pre-diabetes
should then be tested for type 2 diabetes every 1 to 2 years.