Complications of diabetes

Various acute and chronic complications occur with inappropriate compensation of diabetes. It can lead to critical consequences.


Hyperglycemia occurs when the glycaemia (the presence of glucose in the blood) is higher than normal. Reasons for hyperglycemia include missing a dose of insulin or eating a large amount of sugar (bread units). Symptoms of hyperglycemia are dehydration, confusion, nausea, vomiting and frequent urination.

The treatment aims to lower the glycemia. It can be done via a dose of insulin. In the case of mild hyperglycemia, moderate physical activity or sport is sufficient.

Untreated hyperglycemia leads to irreversible damage to the eyes, kidneys or nervous system.


Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the glycemia level is below normal. It is caused by an excess of insulin in the blood. The most common causes are skipped or meagre food, unusual physical exertion, insulin or alcohol overdose. Symptoms include weakness, shakiness, sweating, confusion, palpitations, and enormous hunger.

One of many dangers of hypoglycemia it that diabetics can adapt to their conditions and may not experience any noticeable symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Treatment involves raising the glycemia by eating fast-acting carbohydrates (e.g. sweet lemonade) or glucagon.

Untreated hypoglycemia can lead to serious problems, including coma and even death.

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is one of the most serious acute complication of diabetes. The condition occurs when the body does not have enough insulin. Therefore, cells can not produce energy from glucose and use fat as source.
This process produces ketones, whose accumulation in blood is very dangerous and it can lead to critical consequences.

The treatment includes insulin therapy in the hospital and fluid replacement.

Diabetic foot syndrome

This is one of the chronic complications of diabetes. Long-term hyperglycemia causes nerve damage. Sensibility in the limbs is disordered or lacks totally, especially on the legs and feet. The affected parts of the body then lose the ability to heal. Even small abrasions or scratches create deep wounds.

WOOD, Jamie and PETERS, Anne. The type 1 diabetes Self-Care Manual [online]. Arlington, American Diabetes Association, 2018. ISBN 9781580406208. Available at: 

TRIPATHI, B.K. and SRIVASTAVA, A.K. Diabetes Mellitus: Complications and Therapeutic [online]. Lucknow, Medical Science Monitor, 2006. 12, RA130-47. Available at:

EVANS, Kate. Diabetic ketoacidosis: update on management [online]. Clinical Medicine, 2019. Vol 19. No 5: 396-8. Available at: DOI:

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood sugar) [online]. American Diabetes Association. 2021. Available at:



This website was created with Mobirise templates