Vascular risk factors for incident Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia: the Cache County study

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. Apr-Jun 2006;20(2):93-100. doi: 10.1097/01.wad.0000213814.43047.86.


Vascular risk factors for Alzheimer disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) have been evaluated; however, few studies have compared risks by dementia subtypes and sex. We evaluated relationships between cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and obesity), events (stroke, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and myocardial infarction), and subsequent risk of AD and VaD by sex in a community-based cohort of 3264 Cache County residents aged 65 or older. Cardiovascular history was ascertained by self-report or proxy-report in detailed interviews. AD and VaD were diagnosed using standard criteria. Estimates from discrete-time survival models showed no association between self-reported history of hypertension and high cholesterol and AD after adjustments. Hypertension increased the risk of VaD [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.95-7.44]. Obesity increased the risk of AD in females (aHR 2.23, 95% CI 1.09-4.30) but not males. Diabetes increased the risk of VaD in females after adjustments (aHR 3.33, 95% CI 1.03-9.78) but not males. The risk of VaD after stroke was increased in females (aHR 16.90, 95% CI 5.58-49.03) and males (aHR 10.95, 95% CI 2.48-44.78). The results indicate that vascular factors increase risks for AD and VaD differentially by sex. Future studies should focus on specific causal pathways for each of these factors with regard to sex to determine if sex differences in the prevalence of vascular factors have an influence on sex differences in dementia risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Causality
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / epidemiology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics as Topic