The clinical severity of late onset Parkinson's disease (PD) varies from patient to patient and it is further complicated by the increasing prevalence of accompanying disorders in the elderly. We set out to study the impact of ischemic heart disease, minor stroke, hypertension and diabetes mellitus in a group of late onset PD patients (age >or=70 years). Consecutive late onset PD patients seen in the Department of Neurology, Medical School of Patras, Greece were included in this study. We used very strict criteria to eliminate the possibility of including patients with vascular parkinsonism. Comparisons were made between groups of patients suffering with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) and the above-mentioned diseases. One hundred and sixty-seven consecutive late onset PD patients were included in this study. The most common accompanying disorders in our group were hypertension in 31 (18%) of the patients and minor stroke in 20 (12%). The Hoen and Yahr score in late onset IPD patients who suffered from minor stroke, ischemic heart disease or diabetes mellitus was significantly higher when compared with patients without the above disorders. The results clearly suggest that the presence of vascular disease on an IPD patient may aggravate PD severity. In clinical grounds, these findings can be proved significant since early and aggressive prevention of vascular disease and treatment of vascular risk may contribute in controlling symptom severity in PD.