Impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose - A review of diagnosis, clinical implications and management

John L. Petersen, Darren K McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


The diagnostic categories of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) were established in an effort to identify populations at risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Both IGT and IFG are associated with increased risk of developing T2DM, but recent analyses found that the thresholds of risk vary among different populations and an even lower diagnostic threshold of IFG may be appropriate. IGT has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and some analyses have demonstrated an increased mortality risk compared with patients with normal glucose tolerance. In contrast, a continuum of increased risk of microvascular manifestations of T2DM has been demonstrated with IFG but an association of IFG with cardiovascular events has not been well established. Although both IGT and IFG are associated with resistance to insulin and increased insulin secretion, they do not identify the identical patient populations and are not equivalent in predicting development of T2DM or cardiovascular events. IFG and IGT have been associated with other features of insulin resistance, including dyslipidaemia, hypertension, abdominal obesity, microalbuminuria, endothelial dysfunction, and markers of inflammation and hypercoagulability, traits collectively referred to as the metabolic syndrome. Analyses of combinations of these components have also been associated with progression to T2DM, cardiovascular disease and increased mortality. The foundation of treatment for IGT, IFG, and the metabolic syndrome is lifestyle modification, including both dietary change and routine exercise. To date, several clinical trials have found that lifestyle modification is the most efficacious strategy to prevent progression to T2DM. Alternative treatments include pharmacotherapy with metformin or acarbose, both of which have been demonstrated to decrease the development of T2DM. Ongoing clinical trials are evaluating newer pharmacotherapies, including angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor antagonists, metglitinides and thiazolidinediones, to prevent both T2DM and cardiovascular events. In combination with lifestyle modification, these therapies offer hope for effective prevention of T2DM and its consequences in high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes and Vascular Disease Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Impaired fasting glucose
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Prevention
  • Screening
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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