Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
WASHINGTON - February is American Heart Month. Unfortunately, American Indians and Alaska Natives, on average, are more likely to suffer from heart disease than their Caucasian counterparts.
There are contributing factors that work against American Indians and Alaska Natives.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, American Indians/Alaska Native adults are more likely to be obese than white adults, more likely to have high blood pressure, and they are more likely to be current cigarette smokers than white adults - all risk factors for heart disease.
Prior to the 1960s, coronary artery disease was relatively uncommon among American Indians. Over the past several decades, changes in diet, economics, and lifestyle have resulted in marked increases in the rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure, all of which increase rates of coronary disease, heart attacks, and cardiac deaths.
February is a month to spread awareness about the importance of heart health. Each year, countless American Indian and Alaska Native families are impacted by heart disease and stroke.
Although its risk factors can be prevented or controlled, it is still the leading cause of death for all Americans, and accounts for $1 out of every $6 health care dollars.
There are many simple steps we can take to prevent heart disease such as eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and not smoking.
posted February 1, 2012 6:00 am est
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