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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 Jul;40 Suppl:S3-8.

Impaired glucose tolerance: what are the clinical implications?

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Human Diabetes and Metabolism Research Centre, School of Clinical Medical Sciences, Department of Medicine, The Medical School, Framlington, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) was standardized in 1979 by the National Diabetes Data Group and the World Health Organization as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, replacing groups such as 'borderline' and 'chemical' diabetes. IGT was defined by a blood/plasma glucose value 2 h after a 75 g glucose load that was clearly abnormal but did not convey a risk of microangiopathy in those with non-diabetic fasting blood/plasma glucose levels. IGT is not uncommon, having a prevalence of 2-25% in adults. Determinants include age, obesity (total and central), family history of type 2 diabetes, physical inactivity and triglyceride levels. The main clinical significance of IGT is: (1) as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, with 20-50% of individuals developing type 2 diabetes over 10 years; (2) as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD); and (3) as a component of the metabolic syndrome. IGT can be treated and this may prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes, though the effect of treatment on the risk of CVD is unknown.

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