Dr. Judith Bartlett of the University of Manitoba and the Manitoba Metis Federation said the higher stroke rate was driven by a 53 percent higher smoking rate, 34 percent higher rate of diabetes and 13 percent higher rate of high blood pressure among Metis age 40 years and older, compared to all other Manitobans.
High blood pressure, smoking and diabetes are leading risk factors for stroke, Bartlett said.
"Being historically of both First Nation and European ancestries, but not really identifying as either one, Metis are a very unique people, but little research has been done on this population," Bartlett said in a statement. "It's really difficult for a health system to put in place Metis-specific programs if they don't understand what that means. Our job through this study is to link the health authorities with the Metis to bridge that knowledge gap."
The study linked the MMF membership list and several Canadian Community Health Survey cycles with Manitoba Health's hospital records throughout the province to create the Metis Population Database, a one-of-a-kind registry of the 73,000 Metis in the province.
"Despite universal healthcare, it is clear that stroke and related conditions are even more significant issues for Manitoba Metis than for all other residents in the province," the study said.
The findings were presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress.