The role of cardiovascular risk factors in Alzheimer's disease

CNS Spectr. 2003 Nov;8(11):824-33. doi: 10.1017/s109285290001926x.


The distinction between Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, the two most common types of dementia, has been undermined by recent advances in epidemiologic, clinical, imaging, and neuropathological studies. Cardiovascular risk factors, traditionally regarded as distinguishing criteria between the two entities, have been shown to be associated with both AD and vascular dementia. In this article, we propose mechanisms of action of cardiovascular risk factors in AD, suggest possible explanations for the overlap with vascular dementia and discuss the implications this might have on future differential diagnosis, research, and treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia, Vascular / diagnosis
  • Dementia, Vascular / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors