Nearly 10,000 people in north Florida are living with multiple sclerosis and the majority of them are women, but men can and do get diagnosed with the neurological disease, just ask firefighter Edward Prime.
Edward Prime has spent his entire career rushing into burning buildings, but eight years ago the firefighter from Indian River suddenly found himself stumbling over ladder rungs and running into walls, and then double vision set in.
Prime was first told he had an ear infection, then a brain tumor and was finally was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The husband and father of three was in Tallahassee Thursday to share his remarkable story, remarkable because three months after he was diagnosed he was on medication, back at work and hasn't missed a day since.
Multiple sclerosis can cause numbness, paralysis and blindness. It typically strikes adults in their prime, but for the first time, the MS Society has noticed a surge in the number of children diagnosed with this disease.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild such as numbness in the limbs or severe -- paralysis or loss of vision.
- Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects can be lifelong.
- The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease.
What Causes MS?
- Etiology - The study of all factors that may be involved in the development of a disease.
- Genetics - The genes a person inherits may help determine whether that person is at increased risk for developing multiple sclerosis.
- Trauma - The possible role of trauma in causing MS or in triggering MS attacks is a controversial subject.
- Viruses - Although many different viruses have been suggested to cause MS, there has not yet been definitive evidence linking any one virus.
- Painful sensations
- Blurred or double vision
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired balance
- Changes in bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
- Forgetfullness, or difficulty concentrating
- Speech and swallowing problems
- Mood swings
- Symptoms may come and go, appear in any combination, and be mild, moderate or severe. Some people will experience only a few of these symptoms in the course of their MS, while others will experience many more. There are medications and therapies to help with most of these symptoms.
Source: www.nmss.org (National Multiple Sclerosis Society Web site) contributed to this report.