Interest in dementia has increased over the past few decades. Stroke is an important cause of cognitive problems. The term vascular cognitive impairment is now used to describe dementia attributed to stroke or deep white matter lesions detected on imaging. Although vascular cognitive impairment is increasingly diagnosed, Alzheimer's disease remains the most common dementia worldwide. The relationship between Alzheimer's disease and vascular cognitive impairment is unclear, although there exists significant overlap, which prompts physicians to consider them opposite ends of a disease spectrum, rather than separate entities. There is also substantial evidence that stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes; lipid disorders, etc. are independently associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular cognitive impairment. Evidence suggests that these risk factors have a cumulative effect on Alzheimer's disease development but not on vascular cognitive impairment. This is more marked in Alzheimer's disease patients in the presence of the ε4 allelic variant of apolipoprotein E. How these risk factors increase the risk of dementia is largely unknown. Physicians must be aware that stroke causes dementia; that vascular risk factors appear to be independent risk factors in developing dementia, and that poststroke care must include cognitive assessment.
- Vascular risk factors