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Patient Advocate Foundation
Phone: (800) 532-5274
Fax: (757) 873-8999
Home > Resources > PAF Publications > PAF Guides & Major Publications > American Indian - Alaska Native

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives. The prevalence of diabetes among this population is more than twice that for all adults in the United States.

It is significant to note that American Indians and Alaska Natives frequently contend with issues that prevent them from receiving quality medical care. These issues include cultural and/or language barriers, geographical isolation, weather factors, inadequate or no running water or sewage, low incomes/lack of jobs, and lack of health education.

The shortage of health care professionals working in Alaska Native communities (less than 90 doctors per 100,000 people) compared to national statistics (229 for every 100,000 people), makes health care access an even more challenging issue.

Risk factors such as age, gender and family history cannot be changed, which is why it i important to control the risk factors that you can. these basic health habits are the foundation of lifelong health and well-being:
  • Eat right.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Be tobacco-free.
  • Avoid drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Manage stress.
  • Take care of your teeth, brush regularly.
  • Stay up to date with immunizations and health screenings.
  • Practice safety.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Love and respect your body, mind, and spirit.

Please click on the links below for a description of each disease and suggestions for prevention:
Heart Disease
Where to Find Help or Support