Cerebrovascular risk factors and stroke are highly prevalent with advancing age, and stroke may be more common than Alzheimer's disease, particularly among older men. While stroke mortality continues to decline, the prevalence of individuals with various vascular risk factors continues to rise and many are undiagnosed or undertreated. Asymptomatic cerebrovascular brain injury that includes asymptomatic brain infarction and white matter hyperintensities as well as accelerated brain atrophy is even more frequent than clinical stroke. Moreover, the impact of cerebrovascular risk factors on brain injury appears to begin in middle life and additively increases the likelihood of later life dementia. This review focuses on the use of neuroimaging and genetics to understand the impact of asymptomatic vascular risk factors on the trajectories of cognitive aging as well as incident cognitive impairment, stroke, and mortality. Results of this review emphasize the need for early detection and treatment of vascular risk factors to improve the cognitive health of our rapidly aging population.