1. Diabetic vascular complications can be arbitrarily divided into micro- and macrovascular complications, the major microvascular complications being nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathy. Macrovascular complications are due to accelerated atherosclerosis and include ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease. 2. It is postulated that metabolic and haemodynamic factors interact leading to the development of diabetic vascular complications. 3. Advanced glycation appears to be an important pathway in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications with evidence that the inhibitor of this process, aminoguanidine, attenuates the development of a range of diabetic vascular complications. 4. The results of experimental studies have led to large-scale clinical trials of various therapeutic agents that act to interfere with the metabolic and haemodynamic pathways implicated in the progression of diabetic complications.