Cerebrovascular small vessel disease is now believed to be the major source of vascular burden of the brain. Cerebrovascular small vessel disease and Alzheimer's disease appear to represent pathophysiologic and clinical continua, rather than dichotomous entities. It appears that common etiopathologic mechanisms underlie the clinical presentation of both of these conditions. Therefore, the staging procedures that have been developed for the clinical continuum of age-associated memory impairment, mild cognitive impairment, and the progressive dementia of Alzheimer's disease appear to be applicable for the same continua in cerebrovascular small vessel disease. Although temporal and prognostic aspects have been studied for the Alzheimer's-related portions of this clinical staging continuum, they remain to be elucidated for cerebrovascular small vessel disease.