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The aim of this study was to determine the incidence, prevalence and coronary heart disease risk in patients with known Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus in a Basque Country sentinel practice network study.During the year 2000 we did a survey among sentinel practitioners who registered information about previously and newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic patients older than 24 years of age. We studied 65,651 people attending a primary care service in the Basque Country Health Service-Osakidetza. We collected information about diabetic complications and cardiovascular risk factors and measured the coronary heart disease risk in these patients.In the year 2000, the standardized cumulative incidence and prevalence of known Type 2 diabetes were 5.0 per 1000 (CI 95%: 4.9-5.1) and 4.6% (CI 95%: 4.5-4.7) respectively. Macroangiopathy was the most frequent complication both in the newly diagnosed (21.6%) and previously known Type 2 diabetic patients (33%). Total cholesterol ≥5.17 mmol/l and LDL cholesterol ≥2.58 mmol/l were found in 75% and 90% of newly diagnosed and 65% and 85% of previously diagnosed Type 2 diabetic patients respectively. Of the Type 2 diabetic patients 42% were obese and 80% had high blood pressure. More than 55% of the men compared with 44% of the women with Type 2 diabetes had high or very high risk of coronary heart disease (p<0.05).We report new epidemiological data on known Type 2 diabetes in the Basque Country. These patients have a high frequency of cardiovascular risk factors causing a high coronary heart disease risk.