The incidence of end-stage renal failure in patients with type II diabetes has dramatically increased in recent years, both in the United States and, with some delay, in some European countries. These epidemiologic observations have thoroughly dispelled the mistaken belief that renal prognosis was benign in type II diabetes. Recent interest has focused on the early stages of nephropathy in type II diabetes. With respect to renal hemodynamics, renal morphology, and progression of established diabetic nephropathy, there are no substantial differences between types I and type II diabetes. There is good evidence that preventive measures are effective, ie, glycemic control, blood pressure control, protein restriction, and discontinuation of smoking. The high prevalence of the disease (which in principle is preventable) calls for intense efforts to (1) educate the medical community, (2) substantially improve patient education and medical care, and (3) intensify research in this field.