What is the relationship between Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia?

Updated: Mar 26, 2018
  • Author: Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan, MD, MBBS, MPH, MHA; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Several recent studies also suggest that the risk of developing Alzheimer disease is increased when a patient is exposed to vascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, peripheral arterial disease, and smoking, which usually are associated with cerebrovascular disease and vascular dementia. Recent evidence suggests that the vascular processes in both disorders may mutually induce each other. Apolipoprotein E may play a role in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. Apolipoprotein E4 also increases the risk of dementia in stroke survivors and is a strong risk factor for the development of cerebral amyloid angiopathy in patients with Alzheimer disease. In elderly individuals, many cases of dementia may be caused by the cumulative effect of cerebrovascular and Alzheimer pathology.

One-third of patients with vascular dementia are found to have significant Alzheimer disease pathology with cholinergic deficits in the nucleus basalis of Meynert. [8]


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