What You Need to Know About Glucose Intolerance

Glucose Intolerance

What You Need to Know About Glucose Intolerance

Glucose Intolerance is a term that represents metabolic conditions that are marked by abnormal blood glucose levels. Hyperglycemia, for example, is often characterized by high blood glucose levels.

Glucose intolerance is a condition in which the body is unable to properly break down and use the sugars and carbohydrates that we eat, therefore, these sugars and carbohydrates accumulate in the bloodstream and may cause damage.

Exercise, food intake, sleep patterns, medication, and stress are factors that can impact your glucose levels. 

Glucose intolerance is common and can affect anyone of any age and gender. It can be a dangerous condition that can result in serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes. To know more, below is an overview of glucose intolerance.

What is Glucose Intolerance?

Glucose intolerance (GI) is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to process glucose and deliver it into the bloodstream. It is also the cause of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.

According to NCBI, glucose intolerance may also be defined as dysglycemia that includes both prediabetes and diabetes and includes the conditions below.

Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG)

IFG is defined by elevated fasting plasma glucose. This is when the blood sugar levels are high during hours of fasting. IFG is also known as the prediabetic phase as the glucose levels are not high to be considered diabetes.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)

Impaired glucose tolerance means that blood glucose levels are raised beyond the normal range, but also not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. 

People with impaired glucose tolerance may show no symptoms and would have to undergo a glucose tolerance test in order to diagnose themselves with IGT.

WHO recommends using the term “Intermediate Hyperglycemia” instead of pre-diabetes to avoid the stigma associated with diabetes. Also, not all cases are destined to progress to diabetes mellitus.

Type 2 Diabetes

People with IFG and IGT conditions have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels and is the most common endocrine disorder. There are various factors that can lead to diabetes such as defects in insulin production which may increase the risk of developing serious health complications.

Transitioning from IFG/IGT to diabetes can take many years, but current estimates indicate that most individuals with these pre-diabetic states eventually develop diabetes.

Glucose Intolerance symptoms

Glucose intolerance can be a result of a variety of factors including genetics, certain diseases, and the aging process. Some people with GI may feel tired or exhausted after eating a meal containing simple carbohydrates. It may present symptoms that can be painful or uncomfortable for the sufferers.

To give you more of an idea, here are some common glucose intolerance symptoms:

  • Unusual hunger
  • Extreme thirst
  • Muscle pain and fatigue
  • Excessive urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Lethargy, drowsiness, or headache

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are unsure if you may have GI, it’s best to ask your doctor right away.

Glucose intolerance should be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid developing more dangerous conditions. You can also monitor your blood sugar levels regularly using a glucose meter.

What are the risk factors of developing Glucose Intolerance?

If you want to avoid serious health complications caused by GI, then make sure to watch out for the kind of lifestyle that you have. These are the risk factors that may contribute to the development of glucose intolerance.

Obesity and weight gain – Excess weight puts stress on the body and prevents insulin from working properly.

Birth control pills or other hormone treatments – These treatments may cause blood sugar to rise above normal levels by increasing the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, which can increase insulin resistance.

Alcohol intake – Alcohol affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin.

Age – The risk of developing glucose intolerance increases over the age of 45.

Other pre-existing conditions – This includes obstructive sleep apnea and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Glucose intolerance in pregnancy

Pregnant women who are glucose intolerant will have difficulty converting glucose to energy.

Women with diabetes should strictly monitor their blood sugar levels during pregnancy because pregnant women who are glucose intolerant also have an increased risk of gestational diabetes if not managed properly.


Glucose intolerance is typically treated with diet and lifestyle changes, but medications may be prescribed if the condition persists.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet, taking regular exercise, and losing weight are keys to lowering the risk of glucose intolerance. With proper education, you can manage it and prevent it from getting worse.

If you are looking to lose weight, there are also other options like bariatric surgery that you can explore. Feel free to fill out our free insurance evaluation form and one of our representatives will get back to you.

Get Your Quote or Call Now