Fifty-nine Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients with (group I) and 59 patients without nephropathy (group II) pair-matched according to sex (30 males and 29 females), age (33 years, range 15-48) and diabetes duration (19 years, range 6-42) were followed for a period of 10 years from about 5 years before to 5 years after onset of proteinuria. The cumulative incidence of coronary heart disease was estimated, and blood pressure and serum cholesterol were followed. Within six years after onset of proteinuria the cumulative incidence of coronary heart disease was increased eight-fold in group I (40%) compared with group II (5%), (p<0.001). Blood pressure was higher in group I compared with group II from before onset of proteinuria (135/86±17/9 mmHg vs 129/80±15/8 mmHg, p<0.001), and serum cholesterol elevated from onset of proteinuria in group I (6.3±1.2 mmol/l) vs. group II (5.5±1.0 mmol/l), (p<0.005). Patients in group I who developed coronary heart disease had similar age (36 years, range 21-51, vs 38 years, range 21-53), sex (50% males vs. 52% males), smoking frequency (50% vs 49%), diabetes duration (22 years, range 9-39, vs 24 years, range 10-42) and serum creatinine (110 μmol/l, range 69-284, vs 108 μmol, range 72-1024) compared with patients not developing coronary heart disease. However, the patients with coronary heart disease had higher blood pressure (135/87mmHg±16/9 vs 128/82±15/7, p<0.05) and serum cholesterol (7.3 mmol/l+ 1.2 vs 6.4 mmol/l±0.9, p<0.05) than patients without coronary heart disease. Thus, patients developing clinical nephropathy have a highly increased incidence of coronary heart disease compared with patients not developing nephropathy. Patients who developed coronary heart disease were characterized by higher blood pressure and serum cholesterol.