Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, lipid abnormalities, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), and glucose intolerance, are present more frequently in patients with chronic renal failure than in the general population, even before the onset of replacement therapy. The prevalence, pathogenesis, and significance of these factors in the uremic population are examined, and the potential roles of intervention are reviewed. Evidence suggests, but is not conclusive, that these factors are of predictive value for cardiovascular complications in patients with chronic renal failure. The effect of modification of these factors on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in this population, especially in the early stages of renal failure, is an important area for further study.