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Diabetes. 2003 Dec;52(12):2867-73.

Microvascular complications of impaired glucose tolerance.

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Department of Neurology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.


Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) serves as a marker for the state of insulin resistance and predicts both large- and small-vessel vascular complications, independent of a patient's progression to diabetes. Patients with IGT are at significantly increased risk for death and morbidity due to myocardial infarction, stroke, and large-vessel occlusive disease. IGT is more predictive of cardiovascular morbidity than impaired fasting glucose, probably because it is a better surrogate for the state of insulin resistance. IGT is also independently associated with traditional microvascular complications of diabetes, including retinopathy, renal disease, and polyneuropathy, which are the topics of this review. Inhibition of nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation, endothelial injury due to increased release of free fatty acids and adipocytokines from adipocytes, and direct metabolic injury of endothelial and end-organ cells contribute to vascular complications. Early detection of IGT allows intensive diet and exercise modification, which has proven significantly more effective than drug therapy in normalizing postprandial glucose and inhibiting progression to diabetes. To what degree intervention will limit recognized complications is not known.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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