Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, and Diabetes in Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, and Mixed Dementia: Prevalence and Presentation

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Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent cause of dementia with vascular dementia (VaD) being second alongside with mixed AD and VaD, according to some. For some time, it has been proposed that cardiovascular disease (CaVD), hypertension, and diabetes mellitus (DM), which are known risk factors for VaD, also are associated with and contribute to the development of AD. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of these proposed general risk factors, and to document presence of CaVD as evidenced from clinical records or from autopsy findings, further to correlate these with the diagnoses AD, VaD and mixed AD-VaD (MD), respectively. Methods: Autopsy reports at the Clinical Department of Pathology in Lund from 1992-2017 were analyzed. All cases with a complete autopsy report and a neuropathologically diagnosed dementia disorder (AD, VaD, or MD) were selected on the condition of a clinical diagnosis of dementia. Clinical data were retrieved through medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Register (NDR). A total of 268 subjects were included. Results: In AD, there was less CaVD as significantly less organ/tissue findings (p < 0.05), significantly less hypertension (p < 0.001), and likewise significantly less DM (p = 0.0014) than in VaD, with the MD group results being set between these two in all aspects studied. Conclusion: AD and VaD exhibit such different profiles of organ and vascular damage as well as of hypertension and DM that they clearly point toward different pathogenic origin with low likelihood of shared risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1258
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurology

Free keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • autopsy
  • cardiovascular disease
  • dementia
  • dementia vascular
  • diabetes mellitus
  • hypertension
  • risk factors


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