Diseases Diseases

What Is Polio Post Syndrome

Introduction

The poliovirus, once a virus that afflicted and devastated many people around the globe, is now only found in a few countries in Asia and Africa. In the most severe cases, the virus attacked the nerves and could lead people to become totally or partially paralyzed. Sometimes, as the poliovirus attacked the nerves, people had trouble breathing and died. In the majority of cases, a full recovery is expected. However, polio post syndrome can continue to wreak havoc and cause problems for polio survivors throughout life. Several years after recovering from polio, survivors may begin to experience muscle weakness, atrophying and fatigue in areas that were once affected by the polio virus. Polio post syndrome can sometimes prove life-threatening. If a survivor had a severe case of polio, the polio post syndrome is also likely to be severe. Polio post syndrome can sometimes prove fatal. Patients should seek treatment immediately if muscle weakness and fatigue surface. If a patient suffered from a minor bout of polio, polio post syndrome is likely to also have minor symptoms.

Causes

It is unknown why some survivors of polio begin to experience polio post syndrome months, years or decades after treating polio. It is theorized that the loss of motor neurons during the polio virus causes surviving motor neurons to extend and take on the workload of the damaged motor neurons. After several years or decades of compensating for lost motor neurons, the extended motor neurons begin to wear out, which can result in the onset of muscle weakness and fatigue.

Treatment

Currently, those suffering from polio post syndrome cannot take any drugs to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of the syndrome. Several studies seeking paths of medical treatment have shown some promise, although most results are not statistically significant. Presently, those suffering from polio post syndrome should seek the counsel of a physician trained in neuromuscular disorders. Polio post syndrome sufferers are advised to undertake a light exercise program for a few minutes at a time throughout the day to avoid taxing the muscles too much. Therapy for the sufferer and his or her family members and friends is sometimes advised. Therapy can help family members and friends understand the condition and figure out ways to assist the person with polio post syndrome, while the sufferer can learn how to manage and cope with his or her illness and the pain and fatigue resulting from it.

Tips and comments

Consider other conditions that could contribute to feelings of muscle weakness and fatigue. Other medical conditions and diseases, or simply overexercise, can mimic the symptoms of polio post-syndrome. Discuss any other possible reasons for your symptoms with a doctor. A doctor can help figure out a course of treatment to eliminate or reduce these symptoms if they are caused by anything besides polio post syndrome.

Look for medical studies focused around polio post syndrome if you are eager to get involved in new potential treatment methods. Research universities are usually responsible for these studies. Search on the Internet or call local universities to find out about research studies in your area.

By Jenny Adkins, published at 02/27/2012
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