The prevalence of macrovascular disease and hyperlipidaemia was examined in 500 patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus attending a diabetic clinic in a Sri Lankan teaching hospital and 250 controls matched for age and gender. Macrovascular disease was assessed using a modified World Health Organisation questionnaire and modified Minnesota coding of electrocardiogram recordings. Twenty-one per cent of diabetic patients and 14.3% of controls had hypercholesterolaemia (P < 0.05). Macrovascular disease was present in 13.4% of diabetic patients and 8.2% of controls. Significant differences were seen in the prevalence of hypertension (15.6% vs 4.8%, P < 0.05), obesity (16.2% vs 9.7%, P < 0.05), peripheral vascular disease (5.6% vs 2%, P < 0.05) and electrocardiographic abnormalities (12% vs 6%, P < 0.05) in diabetic patients when compared to controls. Hyperlipidaemia and macrovascular disease is common in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients in Sri Lanka and accounts for significant morbidity.