In examining the pathophysiology underlying the development of hypertension in diabetes mellitus, it is important to draw clear distinctions between Type I and Type II diabetes. In patients with Type I diabetes, with a peak onset of disease early in the second decade of life, hypertension clearly represents the sequelae to the development of substantial renal lesions, especially in the glomerulus. Thus the prevalence of hypertension in those patients without substantial glomerular lesions approximates the incidence of hypertension in the general population (~4%). In patients with Type II diabetes mellitus and onset generally later in adult life, an increase in blood pressure can often be demonstrated early after or even before diagnosis of the disease (most readily demonstrated in the Pima Indians). Furthermore, clear familial tendencies towards the development of nephropathic complications of diabetes can be shown. In patients with Type I disease, the fall in glomerular filtration rate parallels the fall in glomerular capillary surface available for filtration. This reduction in the peripheral glomerular capillary surface correlates well with the expansion of the mesangium, strongly implicating the mesangial expansion in the demise in renal function. For both Type I and Type II diabetes mellitus, the increase in albuminuria may reflect an opening of large pores in the glomerular basement membrane, thereby allowing serum proteins to cross into the filtration space.