FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are invited to observe Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month during May.

“Multiple sclerosis affects one of every 400 New Brunswickers aged 20 and older,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “This month, I invite all New Brunswickers to learn more about this chronic neurological disease and to support the work of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, a national voluntary organization that supports both multiple sclerosis research and services.”

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system. Signs and symptoms vary widely by person, but can include vision problems, muscle weakness and spasms, loss of co-ordination, pain, bladder problems, mood changes and extreme tiredness. Some people with severe multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms.

Each year, 90 new cases of multiple sclerosis are diagnosed in New Brunswick. The most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults, multiple sclerosis usually first appears between the ages of 15 and 40. It is three times more common among women than men. 

The cause of the disease is not known. While there is no known cure, many of the symptoms can be treated effectively with drugs and rehabilitation.

The government offers a provincial drug plan that helps eligible New Brunswick residents with the cost of certain multiple sclerosis drugs.

“We are pleased to see the Government of New Brunswick recognize MS Awareness Month and the importance of the work we do to help improve the quality of life for those living with MS,” said Ben Davis, president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s Atlantic division.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada provides services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families, and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease.

More information on the disease is available online.