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Contribution of vascular diseases and risk factors to the burden of dementia in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011

This report describes a range of modifiable vascular risk factors for dementia, and estimates their individual and combined contribution to the burden of dementia in Australia. Vascular risk factors in this study include smoking, physical inactivity, mid-life high blood pressure and mid-life obesity, as well as vascular diseases that act as risk factors for dementia—diabetes, stroke, atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease. It uses burden of disease estimates from the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 and evidence in the literature that shows a link between these vascular risk factors and development of dementia in later life. It shows that about 30% of the total dementia burden in Australia is due to the joint effect of the vascular risk factors examined; highlighting the potential for preventing dementia and reducing dementia-related burden.