Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) Expert in Perumbakkam

Your Trusted Partner in Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)

Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) is a metabolic condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Left unaddressed, IGT can progress to type 2 diabetes and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Our clinic provides thorough evaluations and personalized strategies to manage IGT, preventing its progression and promoting overall health and wellbeing.

Understanding Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) is a condition where blood sugar levels are elevated beyond the normal range but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. It typically indicates a diminished ability of the body to efficiently process glucose. This impairment often arises due to factors such as insulin resistance, where cells become less responsive to insulin’s signaling, or inadequate insulin production by the pancreas.

Individuals with IGT may not experience noticeable symptoms initially, making it imperative for regular screenings, especially for those with risk factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, or a family history of diabetes. Despite the absence of overt symptoms, IGT poses significant health risks. It increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, along with a heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

Managing IGT typically involves lifestyle modifications such as adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. These measures are aimed at improving insulin sensitivity and regulating blood sugar levels. Additionally, healthcare providers may prescribe medications like metformin to help control glucose levels and mitigate the progression of IGT to diabetes. With early detection and proactive management, individuals with IGT can effectively lower their risk of developing diabetes and its associated complications, leading to better long-term health outcomes.

Causes of Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance occurs when cells in the body become less responsive to insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. This resistance impairs the ability of cells to efficiently take up glucose from the bloodstream, leading to elevated blood sugar levels characteristic of IGT.

Obesity and Excessive Weight Gain: Obesity, especially abdominal or visceral obesity, significantly contributes to the development of IGT. Adipose tissue, particularly visceral fat, releases molecules that interfere with insulin signaling, exacerbating insulin resistance. Excessive weight gain further compounds these effects, increasing the risk of impaired glucose tolerance.

Genetic Predisposition: Genetics play a significant role in predisposing individuals to IGT. Family history influences susceptibility to insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism. Certain ethnicities, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, have a higher incidence of IGT and diabetes, indicating a genetic predisposition to these conditions.

Aging and Hormonal Changes: Advancing age is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity and pancreatic function, contributing to the development of IGT. Hormonal changes, particularly during menopause in women, can further exacerbate glucose intolerance. Aging-related factors play a significant role in the prevalence of IGT among older populations.

Unhealthy Dietary Habits: Consumption of a diet high in processed foods, sugary beverages, and refined carbohydrates can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and contribute to the development of IGT. Poor dietary choices, coupled with excessive calorie intake, can disrupt glucose metabolism and increase the risk of impaired glucose tolerance.

Chronic Stress and Medical Conditions: Chronic stress and certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and sleep disorders, may disrupt glucose metabolism and contribute to the development of IGT. Stress hormones and physiological disturbances associated with these conditions can impair insulin sensitivity and exacerbate blood sugar dysregulation.

Symptoms of Impaired Glucose Tolerance:


Lifestyle Modifications:

  • Dietary Changes: Adopting a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting the intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in regular exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
  • Weight Management: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise can reduce insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance.
  • Stress Management: Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises may help lower cortisol levels and improve insulin sensitivity.


  • Metformin: This oral medication is commonly prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance.
  • Alpha-glucosidase Inhibitors: Medications such as acarbose or miglitol can help slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, reducing post-meal spikes in blood sugar levels.
  • Thiazolidinediones (TZDs): TZDs like pioglitazone may be prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in muscle and adipose tissue.

Non-Surgical Treatments:

  • Incretin Mimetics: Injectable medications like exenatide or liraglutide mimic the action of incretin hormones, which stimulate insulin secretion and inhibit glucagon release, leading to improved glucose control.
  • DPP-4 Inhibitors: Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors such as sitagliptin or saxagliptin increase insulin secretion and decrease glucagon levels, helping to lower blood sugar levels.
  • SGLT-2 Inhibitors: Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors like dapagliflozin or empagliflozin promote the excretion of glucose in the urine, leading to lower blood sugar levels.

Surgical Intervention:

  • Surgical interventions are not typically recommended for impaired glucose tolerance. However, in cases where severe obesity is present and lifestyle modifications and medications have not been effective, bariatric surgery may be considered. Bariatric procedures such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy can lead to significant weight loss and improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Frequently Asked Question on Impaired Glucose Tolerance
How is impaired glucose tolerance diagnosed?

IGT is typically diagnosed through a glucose tolerance test, where blood sugar levels are measured after fasting and again after consuming a sugary drink. Elevated blood sugar levels indicate impaired glucose tolerance.

What are the health risks associated with impaired glucose tolerance?

If left untreated, impaired glucose tolerance can progress to type 2 diabetes and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Can impaired glucose tolerance be reversed?

While impaired glucose tolerance may not be completely reversible, lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, regular exercise, and weight management can help improve insulin sensitivity and prevent progression to diabetes.

Are there medications available to treat impaired glucose tolerance?

Medications such as metformin, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, thiazolidinediones, incretin mimetics, DPP-4 inhibitors, and SGLT-2 inhibitors may be prescribed to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in individuals with IGT.

How often should individuals with impaired glucose tolerance be monitored?

Individuals with impaired glucose tolerance should undergo regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and other relevant parameters as recommended by their healthcare provider. This may include periodic glucose tolerance tests, A1C tests, and assessments of cardiovascular risk factors.