Toronto, ON, — In the lead up to World Diabetes Day, over eight in ten Canadians believe we should be more concerned about diabetes in Canada (84%), with three in four believing it is on the rise in Canada (74%), according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Diabetes Canada. Half of Canadians also say they have a family member who has been diagnosed with diabetes (49%). Canadians 55+ are more likely than those under 35 to believe Canadians should be more concerned about the disease (91% 55+ vs. 75% 18-34) and that that it is on the rise (79% 55+ vs. 65% 18-34).
Six in ten Canadians would be more likely to support a political party that would implement a national diabetes strategy (60%). A national strategy for diabetes could prevent millions of Canadians from developing diabetes or its complications by enhancing prevention, screening and treatment of diabetes, all with a goal of improving the health of Canadians. Those closest to the disease, either living with the disease themselves or providing care for someone who is, are even more likely to support a political party with this policy, with three-quarters indicating they would be more likely to support (76%), and four in ten saying they would be much more likely (39%).
Diabetes also ranks as one of the top priorities for the Government of Canada once Canadians are made aware of the severity of the disease. Canadians were first asked to rank what diseases/complications should be immediate priorities for the Government of Canada (funding research, increasing access to care, developing new drugs, technology, etc.) and diabetes ranked third behind cancer and heart disease or stroke with half ranking it in their top 3 (50% vs. 88% cancer and 77% heart disease and stroke). However, once Canadians were presented with facts about the severity of the disease this figure jumps to eight in ten ranking it in their top 3 (82%), on par with cancer (85%). Canadians Underestimate the Severity of Diabetes
While seven in ten Canadians agree diabetes is a deadly disease (72%), they may underestimate the severity. Only four in ten Canadians identified heart disease as a potential complication of diabetes (40%) and when asked what proportion of heart attacks in Canada are related to diabetes, over four in ten said under 40% (44%), with a similar proportion indicating they don’t know (45%). The actual figure is 40% of all heart attacks are related to diabetes – only 7% indicated they thought it was between 40% to under 50%, with 4% indicating over 50% of heart attacks are related to diabetes.
Canadians also greatly underestimate the chances someone over the age of 20 in Canada has of being diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime, with nearly six in ten indicating there is a less than 50% chance (57%) and three in ten believing it is an under 30% chance (30%) – over 1 in 3 indicated they don’t know (36%). The actual figure is a 50% chance. Only 7% indicated they believe it was a 50% chance or greater, with 1 in 10 indicating they believed it to be between 40% and under 50% (9%). Younger Canadians (18-34 years old) are most likely to believe there is less than a 50% chance (68% vs. 59% 35-54 and 48% 55+).
Diabetes Canada recommends that people over the age of 40 should be tested at least every 3 years for type 2 diabetes. Concerningly, half of Canadians 40 or older with a family doctor say their family doctor has not discussed the history of diabetes in their family or their risk of diabetes with them (50%), with this being even higher among those under 40 years old (59%).
Seven in ten of those touched by the disease (living with diabetes or caregivers) feel it is difficult to pay for health care bills related to diabetes (71%), with one in four strongly agreeing with this statement (24%) and half say they/the person they care for experienced difficulty getting insurance coverage for their needs after being diagnosed with diabetes (51%). A third of those touched by the disease (32%) also say they’ve missed work due to diabetes, with 15% of those saying they left the workplace because of it. With this in mind, it is not surprising that six in ten of those closest to the disease disagree that the government provides enough support for the care of people living with diabetes (60%), with less than 1 in 10 strongly agreeing with this statement (7%). About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 25th and 29th, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 2,008 Canadians 18+ was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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