Risk Factors, Lifestyle Behaviors, and Vascular Brain Health

Rebecca F. Gottesman, Sudha Seshadri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Although a relationship between traditional cardiovascular risk factors and stroke has long been recognized, these risk factors likely play a role in other aspects of brain health. Clinical stroke is only the tip of the iceberg of vascular brain injury that includes covert infarcts, white matter hyperintensities, and microbleeds. Furthermore, an individual's risk for not only stroke but poor brain health includes not only these traditional vascular risk factors but also lifestyle and genetic factors. The purpose of this narrative review is to summarize the state of the evidence on traditional and nontraditional vascular risk factors and their contributions to brain health. Additionally, we will review important modifiers that interact with these risk factors to increase, or, in some cases, reduce risk of adverse brain health outcomes, with an emphasis on genes and biomarkers associated with Alzheimer disease. Finally, we will consider the importance of social determinants of health in brain health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-403
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Leukoaraiosis
  • Lifestyle
  • Risk factors
  • Stroke
  • Vascular dementia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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