Multiple Sclerosis: The Invisible Disease

Here’s something you may not know: Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. The disease affects more than 100,000 patients nation-wide with a 2:1 ratio of women to men. It is often referred to as an “invisible disease” because its symptoms often go undetected and then appear suddenly without warning. Vision may be blurry one day and the next day there might be memory loss, a loss of mobility or dizziness, among other symptoms.

The course of MS is different for everyone, which makes it difficult to predict outcomes. For most people, it starts with an initial attack that is usually, but not always, followed by a full or almost-full recovery. Weeks, months, or even years may pass before another attack occurs, followed again by a period of relief from symptoms.

With the rate of the disease doubling in Canada since 2008 — this compared with a just 10% overall global increase — employers are under increasing pressure to respond to the issues posed by chronic illness. Every case is different. Many workers who suffer from a degenerative disease struggle to work at their optimal ability and then their condition may go into remission without a predictable prognosis.

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