Many research studies have demonstrated asymptomatic white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in older adults, which are postulated to be ischemic in origin. We hypothesized that certain clinical predictors, measured in a population of healthy older adults, would have a positive relationship with WMH scoring on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). As part of a longitudinal study of cognitive aging we have performed MRI on healthy older adults. In a group of 46 volunteers (25 females; median age 73, range 63–84 years), we have calculated of the Hachinski score and Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP). Volunteers also provided self-reported health information using the Cornell Medical Index (CMI). These were compared against the total Age Related White Matter Changes (ARWMC) score. The mean total ARWMC score was 7.4 ± 5.27 (±S.D.) and only 3 (6.5%) individuals had no evidence of WMH. Regression analysis of individual variables identified self-report of cardiovascular disease from the CMI, section C as the only significant predictor of ARWMC. A multivariate linear regression model also identified FSRP at 1 year as a second independently significant predictor. The multivariate model accounted for 19% of the variance in total ARWMC score. The only 6.5% of individuals who had no WMH is in keeping with previous studies. The important finding was the positive relationship with self-reported cardiovascular disease, which is a possible biomarker of sub-clinical cerebrovascular disease (CVD).