Diabetes mellitus substantially increases cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Among Saudi Arabian citizens with diabetes, little is known about the prevalence and control of other CVD risk factors. We extracted data from medical records of a random selection of 422 patients seen between 2008 and 2012 at two diabetic clinics in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We calculated the proportion of patients who had additional CVD risk factors: obesity (body mass index ⩾ 30 kg/m(2)), hypertension (BP ⩾ 140/90 mmHg), elevated cholesterol fractions, and multiple risk factors). Further, we calculated the proportion of patients meeting the American Diabetes Association's recommended care targets for each risk factor. Of 422 patients (mean age, 52 years), half were women, 56% were obese, 45% had hypertension, and 77% had elevated LDL concentrations. In addition to diabetes, 70% had two or more CVD risk factors. Although 9% met both target HbA1c and BP values, only 3.5% had optimum HbA1c, BP, and lipid values. In Saudi Arabia's best diabetes clinics, most patients have poor control of their disease. This huge disease burden and related care gaps have important health and financial implications for the country.