The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of diabetes and minor abnormalities of glucose homeostasis, such as impaired glucose tolerance, as determinants of cardiac function and structure in a working population. We studied a population-based sample of 64 telephone company employees (both sexes, mean age 58 years): 25 with normoglycemia, 15 with impaired glucose tolerance, and 24 with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) diagnosed by oral glucose tolerance test according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization. Subjects with myocardial ischemia were excluded. Left ventricular end-systolic dimension, indexed to body surface area, was greater in those with NIDDM (p < 0.05) and in those with impaired glucose tolerance (p < 0.05) with respect to normoglycemic persons. The ratio of the peak early diastolic velocity wave to the late diastolic wave was lower in those with NIDDM (p < 0.05) and in those with impaired glucose tolerance (p < 0.05) than in participants with normoglycemia. Body mass index and blood pressure were similar in the 3 groups. These results clearly indicate that early abnormalities of cardiac structure and function are observed not only in patients with NIDDM, but also in those with impaired glucose tolerance, independent of the confounding role of myocardial ischemia, body weight, and blood pressure.