The term “vascular dementia” should be considered obsolete, a reflection of the 20th century concept that dementia does not respond to preventive measures, is always a neuro-degenerative disease, is not reversible, and has no treatment. A new approach necessitates the redefinition of vascular dementia as vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), with “dementia” as the terminal manifestation of a treatable process. Vascular cognitive impairment encompasses the vascular component of all dementias and is hence the only treatable element of a disease that has a highly significant impact on the health of older adults at risk for both strokes and coronary artery disease (cardiovascular disease).
The principal aim of this article is to illustrate the relationship between cognitive loss among older adults with vascular risk factors, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Such an approach should help in understanding the basis for VCI, its prevention, and treatment.
Key words: vascular cognitive impairment, preventable senility, brain at risk, dementia, stroke.