Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease

Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Native Hawaiians with 5.8% of all age groups of Native Hawaiians having been told that they had a heart attack or myocardial infarction, compared to 3.8% of Caucasians (Salvail FR, et al, 2003). Similarly, 4.4% of Native Hawaiians reported having angina or coronary heart disease which was somewhat higher than the 3.7% reported by Caucasians (Salvail FR et al, 2003). Overall, Native Hawaiians had a lower prevalence of stroke, 1.9% compared to 3.2% for Caucasians (Salvail FR et al, 2003).

Among elderly with chronic heart failure, Wheeler et al. found that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders had significantly more procedures and a longer length of hospital stay compared to Caucasians (Wheeler et al., 2004). Elder-specific rates of heart disease or stroke for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are extremely limited and interpretations of this data should be cautious.


  • Overall, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) in Native Hawaiians is higher than in Caucasians living in Hawaii; and the number of procedures and length of stay in hospitals is also higher in Native Hawaiians.
  • However, stroke is more prevalent in Caucasians compared to Native Hawaiians.