Cardiovascular risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

Am J Geriatr Cardiol. 2007 May-Jun;16(3):143-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1076-7460.2007.06696.x.


There is now sizable literature on the association between traditional cardiovascular risk factors and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Based on epidemiologic studies, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, there are statistically significant correlations between the prevalence of AD and diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, hyperhomocysteinemia, dietary saturated fats, cholesterol, antioxidants, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, the presence of atrial fibrillation, atherosclerotic disease, and the plasma concentration of some hemostatic factors. Most of the cardiovascular risk factors found to be associated with AD are age-dependent, and the prevalence of AD increases with age. Therefore, the association could simply be attributed to aging. On the other hand, the common pathogenetic mechanisms for the generation of both atherosclerotic disease and AD, such as inflammation and the generation of free radicals, suggest a causal link. If this is the case, the identification of modifiable risk factors for dementia becomes a research priority and early intervention aimed at reducing those cardiovascular risk factors a therapeutic imperative.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Homocysteine
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors


  • Homocysteine