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Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy The glucose tolerance test, of GTT, is a blood test done to make the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and other conditions (see below). The test was designed originally to determines the tolerance for the sugar glucose. "Tolerance" refers to the body's ability to handle (tolerate) glucose. However, the test is not that simple. The test depends on a number of factors including the ability of the intestine to absorb glucose, the power of the liver to take up and store glucose, the capacity of the pancreas to produce insulin, the amount of "active" insulin it produces, and the sensitivity of the cells in the body to the action of insulin. For the test, the subject fasts overnight and is then given a specific amount (100 grams) of glucose by mouth and then blood glucose levels are monitored for 3 to 6 hours. Normally, blood glucose should return to normal within 2 to 2½ hours. Since the dose of glucose is taken by mouth, the test is sometimes called an oral glucose tolerance test. The outcome of the test may indicate any of the following:

Depressed glucose tolerance -- in which the blood glucose peaks sharply before declining slower then usual to normal levels -- as in:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hemochromatosis (iron overload disease)
  • Cushing syndrome (too much of the hormone cortisol)
  • Pheochromocytoma (adrenaline-producing tumor)
  • Central nervous system lesions

Increased glucose tolerance -- in which the blood glucose levels peak at lower than normal levels -- as in:

  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Insulinoma (an insulin-producing tumor)
  • Addison disease (adrenocortical insufficiency)
  • Hypopituitarism (underactivity of the pituitary gland)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactivity of the thyroid gland)


The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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