Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in elderly people, but there are still no curative options. Senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are considered hallmarks of AD, but cerebrovascular pathology is also common. In this review, we summarize findings on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and risk factors in the etiology of AD. Firstly, we discuss the association of clinical CVD (such as stroke and heart disease) and AD. Secondly, we summarize the relation between imaging makers of pre-clinical vascular disease and AD. Lastly, we discuss the association of cardiovascular risk factors and AD. We discuss both established cardiovascular risk factors and emerging putative risk factors, which exert their effect partly via CVD.