Type 2 diabetes is a cardiovascular disease equivalent that is associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and significant mortality. However, the metabolic syndrome and prediabetes are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality, indicating that atherogenic vascular changes begin prior to the onset of overt diabetes. At the core of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance (IR), which sets the stage for dyslipidemia, hypertension, and inflammation. Endothelial dysfunction is the first stage of the atherosclerosis process and results from exposure to cardiovascular risk factors, such as IR and diabetes. IR and atherosclerosis follow parallel paths as they progress in severity. Thiazolidinediones, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor-AT1 blockers, and statins are widely used in the treatment of diabetes. Emerging evidence indicates that these pharmacologic agents have added mechanisms of action, especially on the endothelium and in the prevention of diabetes.