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Glucose Intolerance - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Diet

Glucose Intolerance - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Diet

Max Lab

Sep 19, 2022

Glucose is the main type of sugar found in the blood, which circulates through the body, where it is absorbed by the cells for energy. People get most of their glucose from the food they eat, and apart from fats and protein, sugar is the primary source of energy for the body. The pancreas releases insulin, which is a hormone that helps the cells of the body absorb glucose from the blood and ensures that the blood sugar levels stay in the normal range.

Understanding the Meaning of Glucose Tolerance

For a simple definition, glucose tolerance refers to how efficiently one’s body responds to the glucose they consume.

Understanding the Meaning of Glucose Intolerance

Glucose intolerance is a term used to refer to several metabolic conditions that can cause abnormal blood glucose levels. Some of the conditions that fall under glucose intolerance include:

  • Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG): Also known as impaired fasting glycemia, this is one of the stages in the natural progression of diabetes. In this condition, a person’s blood sugar levels are above normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.
  • Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT): This condition is known as an increased risk of developing diabetes, with a person having high blood sugar levels that fall short of being considered diabetes.
  • Intermediate Hyperglycaemia: Also known as prediabetes, this condition encompasses impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance. If not controlled or managed, prediabetes can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This is the most common type of diabetes. It is a medical condition in which one’s body is not responding as it should to insulin, leading to extremely high blood sugar levels.

During pregnancy, glucose intolerance is a common concern as it can lead to the development of gestational diabetes, which is not only a cause of concern for the mother but may also lead to complications for the baby.

Causes of Glucose Intolerance

There are no clear causes that lead to an impaired tolerance for glucose, but there are several factors that put an individual at a greater risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance, like their diet, being overweight, obesity, having a family history of diabetes, living a sedentary lifestyle, etc. Other than these, there are some medical conditions as well that can also lead to the development of glucose intolerance, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and gestational diabetes. The individual’s age is also important as the risk of developing signs of glucose intolerance are higher after 45 years of age.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance Symptoms

Many people tend to display no symptoms of glucose intolerance, meaning that the condition may be hard to detect unless one undergoes a glucose intolerance test. That is why Including tests for glucose intolerance in your regular health checkup is always a good idea. Mostly symptoms of glucose intolerance do not show until the condition starts to worsen, developing into diabetes. The most common signs of glucose intolerance include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of muscle mass

Treatment for Glucose Intolerance

The treatment will depend on whether an individual has been diagnosed with IFG, IGT, or type 2 diabetes. However, for glucose intolerance, the food one eats, the amounts of physical activities they do, their lifestyle, daily routine, etc., all need to be managed. While some cases of glucose intolerance might warrant the prescription of medicines, most people are suggested to make some major lifestyle changes, including:

  • Consuming a Healthy Diet

Consuming a healthy fibre-rich diet is very important in dealing with glucose intolerance. Food like nuts, yoghurt, and berries should be included, while red meat, sugary snacks, artificially sweetened beverages etc. are the foods to avoid for glucose intolerance.

  • Get Regular Exercise

Individuals need to ensure that they engage in some physical activity on a regular basis. There are a number of studies showing that exercising regularly plays a major role in helping control blood sugar levels.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight can increase one’s risk of developing diabetes and other health issues. So, for people with glucose intolerance, it is important to maintain an ideal weight according to their height and age.

Glucose plays a very important role in the human body and neither high nor low levels of the same should be ignored. Regular blood sugar testing is a good way to keep track of one’s glucose tolerance.


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