The severity of the type 2 diabetes epidemic is widely acknowledged. Demographic, social, and cultural changes around the world are driving a dramatic increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Consequently, there is increasing interest in defining the target population and developing strategies for preventing or delaying the disease. Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), an asymptomatic condition early in the disease continuum of dysglycemia, is the best target for intervention, as it is a strong predictor for the development of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Identifying individuals likely to have IGT using risk-prediction tools is simple and cost-effective; diagnosis can be confirmed with an oral glucose tolerance test. Numerous trials have examined the benefits of intervention in IGT populations. Lifestyle modification and some pharmacologic therapies, such as acarbose, have been shown to significantly reduce disease progression. Acarbose therapy has also been associated with significant reductions in cardiovascular events and new cases of hypertension. Trials assessing the potential preventive effects of various therapies are ongoing, but current evidence confirms that early intervention in individuals with IGT can reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes and CVD. Identification of high-risk individuals should therefore be standard in general practice and, if IGT is diagnosed, therapeutic intervention should be initiated promptly.
Keywords: Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), Prevention and control, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, Acarbose