BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies have shown that microalbuminuria is an important risk factor for arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease and other vascular diseases in persons with type 2 diabetes. In the present study we examined the prevalence and risk factors for micro- and macroalbuminuria and examined glycemic control as well as treatment of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in persons with known type 2 diabetes in Germany. METHODS: The presented data were derived from the 'KORA Augsburg Diabetes Family Study', conducted between October 2001 and September 2002. Participants were adults aged 29 years and older with previously diagnosed type 2 diabetes (n = 581). Microalbuminuria was defined as an albumin-creatinine ratio of 30 to 300 mg/g, and macroalbuminuria as an albumin-creatinine ratio of more than 300 mg/g. Results: Microalbuminuria was revealed in 27.2% and macroalbuminuria in 9.0% of the 581 included diabetic persons. Multivariable regression analysis identified HBA1c, duration of diabetes, systolic blood pressure, serum creatinine, smoking and waist circumference as independent risk factors associated with albuminuria (micro- or macroalbuminuria). Relatively few persons with type 2 diabetes achieved treatment targets of HbA1c < 7% (46.6%), total cholesterol < 200 mg/dl (44.1%), and LDL cholesterol < 100 mg/dl (16.0%). Optimal HDL cholesterol values (> 45 mg/ dl in men, > 55 mg/ dl in women) were found in 55.8%, and blood pressure values < 130 and < 85 mmHg in 31.3% of the persons. CONCLUSION: Albuminuria is common among German persons with known type 2 diabetes. Despite evidence-based guidelines, only a small proportion of type 2 diabetic persons achieved the recommended levels of glycemic control and control of cardiovascular risk factors.