Background: Up to 53.7% of all cases of dementia are assumed to be due to Alzheimer disease (AD), while 15.8% are considered to be due to vascular dementia (VaD). In Europe, about 3 million cases of AD could be due to 7 potentially modifiable risk factors: diabetes, midlife hypertension and/or obesity, physical inactivity, depression, smoking, and low educational level.
Aims: To estimate the number of VaD cases in Europe and the number of AD and VaD cases in Italy attributable to these 7 potentially modifiable risk factors.
Methods: Assuming the nonindependence of the 7 risk factors, the adjusted combined population attributable risk (PAR) was estimated for AD and VaD.
Results: In Europe, adjusted combined PAR was 31.4% for AD and 37.8% for VaD. The total number of attributable cases was 3,033,000 for AD and 873,000 for VaD. In Italy, assuming a 20% reduction of the prevalence of each risk factor, adjusted combined PAR decreased from 45.2 to 38.9% for AD and from 53.1 to 46.6% for VaD, implying a 6.4 and 6.5% reduction in the prevalence of AD and VaD, respectively.
Conclusion: A relevant reduction of AD and VaD cases in Europe and Italy could be obtained through primary prevention.