Based on 20 years of surveillance of the Framingham cohort relating subsequent cardiovascular events to prior evidence of diabetes, a twofold to threefold increased risk of clinical atherosclerotic disease was reported. The relative impact was greatest for intermittent claudication (IC) and congestive heart failure (CHF) and least for coronary heart disease (CHD), which was, nevertheless, on an absolute scale the chief sequela. The relative impact was substantially greater for women than for men. For each of the cardiovascular diseases (CVD), morbidity and mortality were higher for diabetic women than for nondiabetic men. After adjustment for other associated risk factors, the relative impact of diabetes on CHD, IC, or stroke incidence was the same for women as for men; for CVD death and CHF, it was greater for women. Cardiovascular mortality was actually about as great for diabetic women as for diabetic men.