Canadians with Chronic Health Conditions Reluctant to Seek Care During Pandemic, Survey Finds

Mississauga, Canada, March 31, 2021  –  Canadians living with chronic diseases – like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease or obesity – are reluctant to seek proactive care during COVID-19, a new national survey reveals.  While Canadians may think they’re reducing potential health risks, delaying care can increase negative health outcomes and impact demand on healthcare professionals and our medical system.  

Don’t Put Your Health on Hold – Canadians are encouraged to engage healthcare professionals safely and efficiently during COVID-19.  Every province and territory offers telemedicine and virtual care offerings.  For those who need in-person care, Canadians should feel comfortable accessing their healthcare providers who offer safe, sanitized, environments for treatment. Please visit your provincial or territory Ministry of Health website for information to safely contact your healthcare professional either in-person or with telemedicine support. 

Survey results include:

  • Almost four in ten (38%) Canadians surveyed – who have been clinically diagnosed with a chronic disease – say they are avoiding the healthcare system altogether during the pandemic.
  • 13% of survey respondents who have been clinically diagnosed with a chronic condition have neither visited their physician nor had a virtual/telephone visit since the start of the pandemic.
  • Just over half (56%) of survey respondents with a chronic condition visited their physician in-person during the pandemic.

Expert statements:

  • Offering virtual care is good for patients, health care providers and the system, too. Especially in this pandemic environment, virtual medicine can facilitate delivering care. It can always be beneficial for people who live in a remote area or if they have mobility limitations. Electronic consults can help primary care providers obtain the advice of specialists for their patients. Many people affected by diabetes find virtual visits to be convenient; they experience high quality clinical care and are able to access the support they need in the virtual setting. – Seema Nagpal, Vice-President, Science & Policy, Diabetes Canada
  • Don’t delay visiting the hospital if you are worried about acute health concerns, especially if diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is suspected. DKA is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. In general, emergency departments and hospital wards are implementing all measures possible to prevent the spread of infection and are highly organized in terms of dealing separately with patients with established COVID-19, presumptive COVID-19, and without COVID-19. – Sarah Linklater, Chief Scientific Officer, JDRF Canada
  • Obesity is a serious chronic, progressive, and relapsing disease, similar to diabetes or high blood pressure, that can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.  Like any other chronic illness, long-term, continuous and interdisciplinary care is required to effectively manage obesity. We know that obesity care has been disrupted in many places in Canada. But, there are safe and reliable ways to speak to healthcare professionals during the pandemic, such as virtual care and in some cases, in-person consultations. Don’t put your health on hold, speak to a qualified healthcare provider today. – Dr. Mary Forhan, Scientific Director Elect, Obesity Canada

About Survey

This survey, commissioned by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., was conducted using Leger’s online panel between February 26 to 28, 2021 with 1,532 adult Canadians.  492 (35%) of the survey respondents have been clinically diagnosed with a chronic disease (e.g. arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders, obesity, etc.).  Leger estimates a probable margin of error of ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 44,000 people in 80 countries and markets its own products in around 170 countries. For more information, visit, Twitter, or YouTube.

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Kate Hanna


Tammy Alamrieh



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