doctor talking to patient

Know the difference between acute and chronic complications.

Acute complications can arise quickly. Chronic complications tend to arise over years or decades.

Complications from diabetes fall into two major categories:

Know the differences and you will be able to take effective precautions against both.

Acute Complications

Serious, life-threatening complications can arise quickly. Fortunately, such complications can go away just as quickly if you – and those closest to you — know what to do and how to do it.

Acute complications arise from uncontrolled high blood sugars (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugars (hypoglycemia) caused by a mismatching of available insulin and need. In short, you either have taken too much diabetes medication or too little.

Some acute complications require immediate medical attention.

These emergencies include:

Chronic Complications

Chronic complications tend to arise over years or decades. Often, there is damage before there are symptoms so routine screening is recommended to catch and treat problems before they occur or get worse.

Learn more about chronic complications.

Problems include:

diabetes can affect various parts of your body

For both acute and chronic complications, tight control of blood sugar is the best treatment. Other interventions that help keep complications to a minimum include:


Self-assessment Quiz

Self assessment quizzes are available for topics covered in this website. To find out how much you have learned about  Diabetes Complications, take our self assessment quiz when you have completed this section.  The quiz is multiple choice. Please choose the single best answer to each question. At the end of the quiz, your score will display. If your score is over 70% correct, you are doing very well. If your score is less than 70%, you can return to this section and review the information.

©2007-2020 Collective work Martha Nolte Kennedy,
The Regents of the University of California.
All rights reserved.