May is MS Awareness Month

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Did you know that Canada has one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis in the world, with approximately 90,000 people diagnosed?

Next month is MS Awareness Month in Canada. Since the first step in making a difference is learning about the disease itself, MS Canada shares the following information about MS on its website:

“MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Since that includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve, MS can affect vision, memory, balance and mobility. It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of illness and disability can vary and are often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive.

“The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is substantial and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.

“MS is unpredictable and may cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. Its effects can be physical, emotional and financial. Currently there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.”

The majority of MS diagnoses occur between the ages of 20 and 49, though children and older people can be diagnosed as well. The overarching message of MS Canada is that no one has to face MS alone. The organization provides many resources for those living with the disease, and also helps fund research to find a cure. 

MS Canada stresses that any action – including participating in a fundraising event, volunteering, or simply learning more about MS and MS research – can make an impact for Canadians who live with the disease. A donation link can be found at the top of the MS Canada webpage at mscanada.ca, and those seeking support can visit https://mscanada.ca/find-support-multiple-sclerosis for a list of resources. 

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