Background Mortality attributable to heart failure remains high. The prevalence of heart failure in patients with diabetes mellitus ranges from 19 to 26%. It is estimated that up to 21.1 million adults in the United States have diagnosed diabetes mellitus and around 80.8 million have impaired fasting glucose. We investigated the associations of fasting glucose (FG) and fasting insulin (FI), the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) and 2-h postload glucose (2HG) and insulin (2HI) with parameters of left ventricular geometry and function and arterial stiffness determined by magnetic resonance imaging in individuals without diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Methods Cross-sectional analyses of 1001 individuals (453 women, 45.3%), aged 21 to 80 years, from two independent population-based studies, the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-TREND-0) and KORA FF4 Study. FG, FI, HOMA-IR, 2HG and 2HI, as well as glucose tolerance categories, were analyzed for associations with heart and arterial parameters using multivariable-adjusted linear regression models. Results In total, 390 individuals (39%) had prediabetes (isolated impaired fasting glucose, isolated glucose tolerance or both), and 49 (4.9%) were found to have unknown type 2 diabetes. In the multivariable-adjusted analysis, positive linear associations of FG, FI, HOMA-IR, 2HG and 2HI with arterial stiffness index and left ventricular wall-thickness and concentricity and inverse linear associations with left ventricular end-diastolic volume were observed. A 1 mmol/l higher FG was associated with a 1.18 ml/m(2.7) (1.80 to 0.57; p < 0.001) lower left ventricular end-diastolic volume index, a 0.042 mm/m(2.7) (0.014 to 0.070) higher left ventricular wall-thickness index, a 0.12 mmHg m(2.7)/ml (0.06 to 0.17; p < 0.001) greater arterial stiffness index and a 0.037 g/ml (0.018 to 0.056; p < 0.001) higher left ventricular concentricity. Conclusions Our findings suggest that higher glucose levels in the prediabetic range and insulin resistance might lead to higher arterial stiffness and concentric remodeling of the heart.