Atherosclerotic macrovascular disease is the leading cause of both morbidity and mortality in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Endothelial dysfunction is a key, early and potentially reversible event in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Its occurrence in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is well supported by both in-vitro and in-vivo studies. Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus results in diverse abnormalities of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, in particular hypertriglyceridaemia, low levels of high density lipoprotein and abnormalities of post-prandial lipaemia. A variety of studies demonstrate the presence of enhanced oxidative stress in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, with recent data implying an association between oxidative stress, post-prandial lipaemia and endothelial dysfunction in non-diabetic subjects. In this article based on in-vitro and human studies, we develop the hypothesis that endothelial dysfunction in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is the consequence of the diabetic dyslipidaemia, in particular post-prandial lipaemia, and of oxidative stress on the action of nitric oxide. The practical applications of this theory provide potential therapeutic options which may reduce the risk of vascular disease in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.