Cardiovascular Knowledge Among Urban American Indians and Alaska Natives: First Steps in Addressing Cardiovascular Health


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is common among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). Given limited access to health care, urban AI/ANs may be at particular risk. Lack of available data, however, limits our understanding of cardiovascular health in this population.

Objectives: We conducted a survey to characterize CVD-related knowledge, behavior, and risk of urban AI/ANs. Results related to knowledge are reported.

Methods: In collaboration with the Indian clinics in two urban communities, we surveyed 298 AI/ANs.

Results: Respondents recognized approximately half of the symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and were significantly less likely to recognize each symptom than reported in national studies using the same items. General CVD knowledge (e.g., risks of high blood pressure) was stronger, although areas for improvement were noted.

Conclusions: Urban AI/ANs would benefit from efforts to enhance CVD knowledge. These preliminary data are providing the foundation for community-based efforts to address CVD risk among urban AI/ANs.