A study following 837 people with MCI, of whom 414 (49.5%) had at least one vascular risk factor, has found that those with risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease and high cholesterol were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Over five years, 52% of those with risk factors developed Alzheimer's, compared to 36% of those with no risk factors In total, 298 people (35.6%) developed Alzheimer's.
However, of those with vascular risk factors, those receiving full treatment for their vascular problems were 39% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those receiving no treatment, and those receiving some treatments were 26% less likely to develop the disease.
Treatment of risk factors included using high blood pressure medicines, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and diet control. Smoking and drinking were considered treated if the person stopped smoking or drinking at the start of the study.
(2011). Vascular risk factors promote conversion from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer disease.
Neurology. 76(17), 1485 - 1491.