This article provides an overview of vascular cognitive impairment; discusses its epidemiology, subtypes, and associations with other neurodegenerative diseases; and reviews the diagnostic evaluation and management of these disorders.
Cerebrovascular disease is a common cause of dementia and frequently coexists with neurodegenerative causes. The heterogeneity of mechanisms leading to vascular cognitive impairment makes developing unifying clinical and research criteria difficult. Recognizing the neuroimaging hallmarks of different forms of vascular cognitive impairment can allow for individualized treatment and management. In individuals with mild vascular cognitive impairment, aerobic exercise appears to be a promising treatment but requires further investigation.
Vascular cognitive impairment can be caused by several mechanisms. While treating vascular risk factors is rational to prevent worsening of cognitive impairment, well-designed studies are needed to demonstrate efficacy.