The National Institutes of Health lists risk factors for developing dementia. These are factors most associated with vascular dementia.
AGE: The risk of Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and several other dementias rises significantly with age.
SMOKING AND ALCOHOL USE: Several recent studies have found that smoking significantly increases the risk.
ATHEROSCLEROSIS: Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque -- deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol and other matter -- in the inner lining of an artery. It interferes with the delivery of blood to the brain and can lead to stroke.
CHOLESTEROL: High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), "bad" cholesterol, appear to significantly increase the risk of vascular dementia.
DIABETES: Diabetes is a risk factor for both Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. It is also a known risk factor for atherosclerosis and stroke, both of which contribute to vascular dementia.