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In addition to the prevention and treatment of macro- and microvascular complications, management goals for patients with type 2 diabetes include reducing the risk of cardiovascular events with a view to improving quality of life. A number of epidemiological and observational cohort studies have been published in Italy and France in an effort to determine the patient profile of individuals with type 2 diabetes in these countries and to gather data on current clinical practice and prescribing patterns. The results of the studies confirm that cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and elevated cholesterol, commonly occur in patients with type 2 diabetes and that these co-morbid conditions are not well controlled. As a consequence, both macro- and microvascular complications are prevalent in this patient population. It is clear that the management of type 2 diabetes in France and Italy is suboptimal. In both primary and specialist care, treatment guidelines need to be reinforced and a more aggressive approach needs to be adopted in the treatment of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors and in particular hypertension. Collectively, the available data highlight the importance of managing global cardiovascular risk within the context of diabetes care. Greater adherence to therapeutic targets recommended in guidelines will ensure that greater proportions of patients attain these treatment goals thereby reducing diabetes-related morbidity and mortality.