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A Canadian peer-reviewed journal of population health and health services research

March 2008

Health care use among gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians

by Michael Tjepkema

While a variety of factors have been studied in relation to the decision to seek health care, relatively little research has examined health care use and access by sexual orientation. Much of the information about the role of sexual orientation in access to care comes from American studies, the balance of which suggests that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals experience unique obstacles. This research shows that lesbians are less likely than heterosexual women to have a regular source of care such as a family doctor, and more likely to report difficulties in access due to cost. Some gay men, lesbians and bisexuals have reported negative experiences with the health care system related to their sexuality, and, as a result, avoid or delay seeking care.


An algorithm to differentiate diabetic respondents in the Canadian Community Health Survey

by Edward Ng, Kaberi Dasgupta and Jeffrey A. Johnson

Diabetes is a serious chronic condition characterized by high levels of glucose, the body's primary fuel. Normally, glucose is transferred from the circulation system into tissue cells through the action of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. In patients with type 1 diabetes, high glucose levels result from a lack of insulin production. For patients with type 2 or gestational diabetes, glucose levels rise because of resistance to the action of insulin. Although gestational diabetes may resolve post-partum, women with this condition are at increased risk of developing type 2.


February 2008

Chronic pain in Canadian seniors

by Pamela L. Ramage-Morin
Throughout our lives we experience pain. It could be a temporary discomfort such as infant colic or a more chronic level of pain resulting from injury or disease. Although not pleasant, pain may be protective, helping us survive. As a symptom of injury, illness or disease, pain motivates us to seek treatment and teaches us to change our behaviour—the child who touches a hot surface, for example, learns to avoid further injury and heed parents' warnings. However, pain may be chronic and destructive, serving no useful purpose for survival. Pain is usually considered chronic if it lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more or, alternatively, if it persists after an injury has healed.

Getting a second opinion: Health information and the Internet

by Cathy Underhill and Larry McKeown

In the little more than a decade since it was launched commercially, the Internet has changed the way Canadians conduct their everyday activities, from viewing weather, news and sports to banking and paying bills. The Internet has also changed the way many Canadians obtain health information, and potentially, their relationship with physicians.


January 2008

Life expectancy in the Inuit-inhabited areas of Canada, 1989 to 2003

by Russell Wilkins, Sharanjit Uppal, Philippe Finès, Sacha Senécal, Éric Guimond and Rene Dion

According to the 2001 census, 976,000 Canadians (3% of the total population) self-identified as Aboriginal: First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuit. About 5% of the Aboriginal-identity population, numbering more than 45,000, were Inuit. Inuit are descended from Aboriginal people who historically inhabited the Arctic regions of Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. Most Inuit in Canada now reside in one of four regions: the Inuvialuit region (along the Arctic coast of the Northwest Territories), Nunavut (eastern Arctic territory), Nunavik (northern Quebec), and Nunatsiavut (northern coast of Labrador).

Obesity and the eating habits of the Aboriginal population

by Didier Garriguet
During the past 25 years, the prevalence of obesity in Canada has risen steadily. This increase is part of a global phenomenon that the World Health Organization has described as an epidemic. Obesity is recognized as a risk factor for a variety of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

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