The role of cardiovascular disease risk factors in the occurrence and progression of cognitive impairment has been the subject of a significant number of publications but has not achieved widespread recognition among many physicians and educated laymen. It is apparent that the active treatment of certain of these cardiovascular disease risk factors is accompanied by a reduced risk for cognitive impairment. Patients with hypertension who are treated experience fewer cardiovascular disease events as well as less cognitive impairment than similar untreated patients. Patients who exercise may present with less cognitive impairment, and obesity may increase the risk for cognitive impairment. Lipid abnormalities and genetic markers are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment. Autopsy studies have demonstrated a correlation between elevated levels of cholesterol and amyloid deposition in the brain. Research has demonstrated a relation between atherosclerotic obstruction lesions in the circle of Willis and dementia. Diabetes mellitus is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment. A number of nonpharmacologic factors have a role in reducing the risk for cognitive impairment. Antioxidants, fatty acids, and micronutrients may have a role, and diets rich in fruits and vegetables and other dietary approaches may improve the outlook for patients considered at risk for cognitive impairment.