Does Impaired Glucose Tolerance Always Become Diabetes?

diabetesRecently, I read about a study* that compared people who had impaired glucose tolerance over a period of about 2.4 years to see if they developed Diabetes. This study showed that with an early intervention, utilizing a medication called Pioglitazone, a person’s risk of developing diabetes was lowered by about 72% compared to the control group.

I found it to be a very well-written study and was particularly interested in how early intervention with medication can reduce your risk of developing full-blown diabetes. A lot of people don’t realize that your blood sugar can be elevated for a long time before you are diagnosed with diabetes. This period of elevated blood sugars can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves long before you were diagnosed. Studies have shown that the rate of conversion from impaired glucose tolerance to type II diabetes is also reduced using lifestyle modification.

Lifestyle modification intervention is a lower cost and less riskier path to reducing the number of people who develop diabetes type II. You know the more medications that you take, the higher costs on an ongoing basis as well as risk of drug interactions. Before you consider taking the route of additional medications, consider modifying the things you do that can help lower your risk and your families risk.

What are lifestyle modifications?

First, you can eat a diet that is lower in saturated fats, higher in fiber, and moderate in the amount of carbohydrate. Whether you are diabetic or not, if you have a family history, you are at higher risk and should consider starting early with modifications to your diet. Eating out less often and following some recipes that are healthy is the best way to get started.

Second, increasing the amount of exercise that you do can help to lower your weight and lower your blood sugar. Exercise in general makes your body use its fuel, a.k.a. calories, more efficiently. This can be as easy as taking a 10 to 15 min. walk twice a day.

Whatever you do, remember that starting early is the best way to have a healthier quality of life.

What lifestyle modifications can you make to lower your risk? Tell me in the comments…

* DeFronzo, R, Tripathy, D. et al.  “Pioglitazone for Diabetes Prevention in Impared Glucose Tolerance” NEJM 364:12 1104-15.

Here are the current options we have available for people in need of a diabetic diet:

1400 Calorie Meal Plan for People Weighing up to 130 pounds

1800 Calorie Meal Plan for People Weighing between 131 – 175 pounds

2200 Calorie Meal Plan for People Weighing up over 175 pounds

If you are pregnant and have gestational diabetes, learn more here.

If you need a diet that is made for someone who is having kidney problems, is diabetic, and needs a lower sodium diet, click here to go to our renal diabetic information. Also for diabetics that need a cardiac diet.

About Mathea

Mathea Ford, RD/LD, is the owner of Healthy Diet Menus For You, LLC. She has over 22 books on Amazon, check out her work at

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