The Alberta Health Services is advising people to see a doctor always when it’s time, even as COVID-19 remains in focus.

The reminder comes as AHS monitors a decline in hospital admissions for stroke and heart attack over the last few months. They note that a similar trend happened at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as well. They attribute it to some people not getting treatment over fears of the virus, or safety measures might be seen as a barrier. This has lead people to come to the hospital in bad condition.

In an effort to help people be conscious of their health, AHS is asking people to “listen to their body.” If something feels wrong, they should make an appointment with their doctor or seek medical service.

The campaign is especially targeting people at risk of heart attack, cancer, strokes or other serious prognoses when treatment is time-sensitive.

“Without treatment, you may end up dead – or seriously disabled,” said cardiologist Dr. Michelle Graham. “You may survive that heart attack while staying at home, but will be at much higher risk of developing heart failure, which has a worse prognosis than many cancers.”

AHS says evidence shows that early treatment for heart attacks can limit or even prevent heart damage; and for strokes, a delay in treatment of as little as 25 minutes can leave an additional 20 per cent of stroke patients with severe disability or even death.

They add that AHS systems have been open to patients to diagnose and manage illness and disease.