Dementia, stroke, and vascular risk factors; a review

Ramesh Sahathevan, Amy Brodtmann, Geoffrey A. Donnan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Stroke
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • AD
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Vascular risk factors
  • VCI

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