Few Faets About IGT and Type 2 Diabetes

lf you have just been diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance IGT or type 2 diabetes, here are four things you should know.

1. Insulin resistance is the problem

Patients with IGT and type 2 diabetes share a problem called insufin resistance. Their body tissues have become insensitive to the effects of insulin (a hormone that moves blood glucose into cells, where it is used for energy).
At first, the insulin resistance is mild. IGT has no symptoms. But it carries a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes later.

IGT can last for 7-10 years (or longer) before diabetes develops. lt is rarely diagnosed early, and often it is not diagnosed at all before full-blown diabetes is present. Even people in the early stages of diabetes may not have symptoms for several years, delaying a diagnosis even more.

2. The earlier the diagnosis, the better

Early diagnosis of IGT can be very helpful.

First, IGT brings an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Patients who have IGT should be checked for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and started on treatments, if necessary. People who are not diagnosed until they have diabetes may already have significant heart disease.

Second, IGT may be reversible. Only one-third of all people with IGT get diabetes. Changing your eating and exercise habits can stop or slow down the process that leads to diabetes.

And finally, studies are now considering the use of prescription drugs to treat IGT and preventdiabetes.

The risk factors for IGT and type 2 diabetes are the same. Pe ple should be screened regularly for these diseases if they are:

•  older than age 50 and have at least one additional risk factor are Hispanic, African American, American Indian, or Pacific Islander
have a family history of diabetes
have central (waistline) obesity
have a sedentary lifestyle
have had gestational (pregnancy-related) diabetes
have high blood pressure
have blood fat problems, particularly high triglycerides or low levels of high-density lipopro-tein (HDL) cholesterI.

3. Early treatment is crucial.

The course of IGT and diabetes can be changed by changing eating habits, exercising, and, if needed, taking prescription drugs. Complications that can occur once diabetes is present, including heart disease, strokes, eye problems, kidney disease, and nerve damage, can be delayed and perhaps avoided with early treatment. Early treatment and tight blood glucose control can also delay the need for insulin.

4. More advanced diabetes may mean more complex treatments.

As diabetes progresses, you may need more than one type of medicine. At its earliest stages, your pancreas, which produces insulin, can overcome your body's insulin resistance by making more and more insulin. Over time, however, the pancreas cannot keep up. At this point, you may need another, different type of oral medicine. Your physician may advise you to keep taking your first medicine as well, since the drugs may work better together than either one does alone.

Also, even with careful diabetes control, many people with type 2 diabetes eventually needinsulin. If you do start insulin, you may still need to take your oral drugs to get the best benefit from your diabetes therapy.
American Diabetes Association
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