Cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of dementia, is a major health problem in older adults worldwide. Although numerous investigators have attempted to develop effective treatment modalities or drugs, there is no reasonably efficacious strategy for preventing or recovering from cognitive impairment. Therefore, modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment have received attention, and the growing literature of metabolic risk factors for cognitive impairment has expanded from epidemiology to molecular pathogenesis and therapeutic management. This review focuses on the epidemiological evidence for the association between cognitive impairment and several endocrine risk factors, including insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, thyroid dysfunction, vitamin D deficiency, and subclinical atherosclerosis. Researches suggesting possible mechanisms for this association are reviewed. The research investigating modifiable endocrine risk factors for cognitive impairment provides clues for understanding the pathogenesis of cognitive impairment and developing novel treatment modalities. However, so far, interventional studies investigating the beneficial effect of the "modification" of these "modifiable risk factors" on cognitive impairment have reported variable results. Therefore, well-designed, randomized prospective interventional studies are needed.