Post Polio Syndrome-Symptoms, Treatment, Causes


What is post polio syndrome?

Post polio syndrome is a condition wherein an individual who had been infected or had contracted polio will experience different symptoms 15 to30 years after the first paralytic attack happened. Post polio syndrome is not really fatal; however, it can greatly affect the individual’s day to day activities. Post polio syndrome is also not a contagious condition. The usual symptoms such as muscle weakness would render the individual with post polio syndrome dependent on someone else. Proper monitoring of the individual who acquires post polio syndrome should be conducted and supportive measures to alleviate the symptoms should be given.


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Symptoms of Post Polio Syndrome

The most common symptom suffered from post polio syndrome is the new weakening of the muscles and tiredness. Here are the other common symptoms of post polio syndrome:


• Muscle weakness that progresses through time is a common syndrome. This would render the individual tired or fatigued most of the time.


• Muscle atrophy or a condition wherein the size of the muscles eventually decreases.


• Scoliosis, a painful skeletal deformity, would result from the muscle weakness and muscle atrophy.


• The muscles near the respiratory system also weaken thus resulting to difficulty in breathing especially when performing a strenuous activity or when going to sleep.


• In severe cases, some would have trouble swallowing and would need the food and water to be aspirated inside the body. This could give the needed nutrients however the individual would be at risk of possible pneumonia as the aspiration could allow infection inside the lungs.


The symptoms of post polio syndrome depend on how grave the polio survivor’s disease was before. If he/she only experienced the mild type of polio, then the post polio syndrome symptoms would also be mild. The symptoms would greatly depend on how much muscle loss the individual had during his/her experience with polio.

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Cause of Post Polio Syndrome


Up until now, researches are still looking for the true cause of post polio syndrome. For now, experts have a hypothesis on why post polio syndrome happens. The virus that causes polio attacks the motor neurons in the spinal cord. When this happens, the motor neurons that survived the invasion of the virus would exert more effort to make up for the lost motor neurons in order to perform muscle function. Through time, these neurons would wear out causing the post polio syndrome to happen.



Treatment of Post Polio Syndrome

The search for the treatment of post polio syndrome is still ongoing. As of today, supportive measures are given to individuals who are suffering from the illness. Since the symptoms of post polio syndrome primarily include muscle weakness, a walking aide should be ready and handy for the convenience of the patient. Also, a ventilator should always be at hand in case the individual suffers from breathing difficulty.


Post polio syndrome will occur decades after having polio. But this is no reason to get frustrated. Proper supportive measures can be done to alleviate the symptoms. Remember, if one has survived polio, he/she can also survive post polio syndrome.

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