Cardiovascular risk scores are available but are often not calculated in busy clinics for numerous practical reasons. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) may be an alternative way of identifying subjects who have a high total cardiovascular risk score. We compared BNP level with Framingham 10-year Risk Scores for coronary heart disease and stroke and New Zealand Cardiovascular Risk Scores in 231 patients who had type 2 diabetes and no preexisting coronary heart disease or stroke. There was a significant correlation between log BNP and 10-year risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, and there were significantly higher BNP levels in those who had high cardiovascular risk as assessed by the New Zealand Risk Score. BNP may be a useful way of measuring total cardiovascular risk, thus having the potential to better target the most aggressive primary preventive therapies toward the most needy.