Nearly half of Quebecers have a chronic health condition

Montréal, January 16, 2014 – In Quebec, approximately 3.2 million people have at least one chronic health condition, which represents 48% of the population aged 15 and over living outside institutions in 2010-2011. In proportion, women and seniors are more likely to report this type of health condition. A chronic health condition refers to a physical or mental health condition lasting for at least six months or that could last six months or longer. It is diagnosed by a physician and requires medical follow-up and medication, as well as treatments or lifestyle changes to improve health. This information was revealed in the statistical report, released today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, which documents health system and social services needs and utilization for this group of Quebecers considered potentially vulnerable.

Arthritis and hypertension are the most common health conditions affecting the population

Among the chronic health conditions that were studied, arthritis affects 16% of people, while hypertension affects 17%. Heart disease and diabetes are each mentioned by 7% of individuals, and 3.6% are suffering from chronic bronchitis. Nearly a third of people reported having at least one of these five conditions.

Increased vulnerability for people with both chronic health conditions and a disability

People who have a chronic health condition are more likely, proportion-wise, to live alone than those who have none. They are also more likely to be part of a household living below the low income cut-off. These less favourable social and economic conditions are more prevalent with people who have more than one chronic health condition. Moreover, half of Quebecers with at least one chronic health condition are also living with a disability, i.e. an activity limitation. For one person out of five, the disability is moderate or severe and can have a significant impact in their every day life.

While the vast majority of people have a family physician, some needs are not addressed

Although nearly nine out of 10 people with at least one chronic health condition have a family physician, one out of 10 expressed the need to have one. The study also shows that 12% of individuals have needed a consultation with a medical specialist but were unable to obtain one; half of them indicating that their chronic health condition was involved and 2.5% reporting home health care needs that were unmet. These needs were expressed the most by people with both a chronic health condition and a moderate or severe disability.

The Survey

The Institut conducted the Québec Survey on Activity Limitations, Chronic Diseases and Aging, 2010-2011, at the request of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and the Office des personnes handicapées du Québec. A total of 24 772 people aged 15 and over living in private or collective non-institutional households participated in this survey, thus gathering information on all of Quebec and its regions.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyses and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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