High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and the HDL/total cholesterol ratio have been measured in 440 patients with coronary, cerebral or peripheral vascular disease and in 440 matched controls. The patients were subdivided into sex- and age-groups and according to physical activity, smoking, hypertension and non-insulin-dependent and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The average HDL cholesterol level was significantly decreased in all the three groups of localization of ischaemic vascular disease (IVD). Plasma HDL concentration in men was lower than in women in every age-group. Lowest values were measured in patients with cerebral vascular diseases. From among the risk factors supposed to be related to IVD, lack of physical exercise resulted in a decrease of HDL cholesterol and HDL/total cholesterol values. In all the three localizations of IVD cigarette smokers had lower HDL levels than non-smokers. The influence of hypertension on serum HDL concentration was not unidirectional. The coexistence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes and IVD resulted in decreased lipid parameters. The sera of insulin-dependent diabetics had higher HDL contents and higher HDL/total cholesterol ratios than those of non-diabetics in all the three localizations of the vascular disease in men and in women suffering from peripheral vascular disease.