Now a day’s polio is a very common disease. Almost everyone is familiar with this problem. In this disease, some kind of virus attacks the person and the person’s legs get affected. At the start, there was no vaccine for polio. But as time passed, the scientists became successful in making the vaccine for polio. Moreover, despite recovery from polio, most of the people suffer from some problems. Post-polio syndrome is one of those problems. This syndrome occurs in people who recovered from polio. It may occur after many years of the patient’s recovery. This article is all about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the post-polio syndrome.
Basically, the chance of getting this syndrome is more in the young people who suffered from polio at very early age. In this condition, the person starts feeling weakness and pain in muscles and bones. The person feels continuous fatigue in this situation. Sometimes, the size of the muscles also starts decreasing in this situation. The person starts going through different bone problems.
It is not a life-threatening syndrome in most people. Although it affects the daily life activities of a person. In some people it may also affects the respiratory muscles. As a result, a person feels too much difficulty breathing. Moreover, in some cases it leads into pneumonia. So, lets see what are the major causes of this post-polio syndrome to occur.
Causes of Post-polio Syndrome
The causes of post-polio syndrome are not well known. No one is confirmed about the causes of post-polio syndrome. Basically, what happen is that when the polio virus attacks the body of a person, the motor neurons of the person also gets affected. Those neurons which did not affect starts becoming enlarge. As a result, after some years it starts getting into this syndrome. So, in this way, enlargement of motor neurons causes post-polio syndrome.
Symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome
Symptoms of post-polio syndrome does not appear immediately. They may occur after 40 years of the polio disease. These are the symptoms of post-polio syndrome which occur commonly:
- In this condition, there is continuous pain and weakness in the muscles of the patient.
- Regular fatigue after polio is also one of the major symptoms of post-polio syndrome.
- A person feels difficulty in moving his muscles.
- Difficulty in breathing is also one of the major symptoms of post-polio syndrome.
- In this condition, the person cannot bear the cold temperature normally.
This syndrome basically occurs naturally in every person. However, in some people, the chance of getting this syndrome increases due to some factors which are as follows:
The severity of initial polio infection
In some people, polio occurs at a very low level. Although it is very severe in some people. So, the chance of this syndrome is more in people the severe polio infection.
Age at onset of initial illness
Age matters a lot to get this syndrome. The people who get polio in childhood are in safe mode than those who get polio at the adult stage. In adults, the chances of recovery are less and the person mostly go through this syndrome.
The time in recovery from polio also plays a very important role in getting this syndrome. If the person gets recovered earlier, the chances of this polio syndrome increases. Because the stress on motor neurons increases due to fast recovery. Similarly, if the person gets recovered slowly from polio, there are fewer chances of getting this syndrome.
Excessive physical activity
If you feel fatigued in the body, it means there is stress on your motor neurons. In this condition, if you continue doing exercise it will increase the risk of post-polio syndrome.
In most cases, this problem does not cause a danger to life. Although in some cases, it results in severe complications which are as follows:
- Sometimes due to continued weakness in the body makes your legs weaker. As a result, you feel difficulty in standing. If you still try to stand and walk, sometimes you may fall and one of your bones may also break.
- As it causes weakness in the bones of the whole body, so the bones of the whole body get affected. It may also cause the chest muscles to get weak. As a result, a person feels great difficulty in breathing. In some cases, the mucus starts getting accumulated in the lungs. In this case, a person suffers from chronic respiratory failure.
- It may also cause osteoporosis in some men and women. Due to continuous load on bones, the bones of the patient become so weak and he/she suffers from this problem. In this case, you must have to consult your doctor.
When to see a doctor
In some cases, we go through normal muscle pain. We do not take that pain seriously. However, in some cases, a person suffers from regular pain and fatigue in his/her muscles. In this condition, it is compulsory to visit the doctor as soon as possible. As continuous pain in muscles is not normal.
Diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome
The diagnosis of post-polio syndrome plays a very important role in its treatment. Before moving to the diagnosis of post-polio syndrome, the doctor first sees some previous history of a patient which includes:
Previous diagnosis of polio
The doctor asks whether a person goes through polio in the past. The doctor also inquiries about the other close members of the family.
A long interval after recovery
The doctor asks the patient whether he/she recovers from the initial attack of polio or not. The doctor also asks about the time period after the recovery of the patient. It helps in the diagnosis of the severity of the post-polio syndrome.
Basically, there is not an exact test for the diagnosis of post-polio syndrome. The doctor performs some tests to find out other problems that cause this disorder. In this way, if he/she found some positive results in the test of other related diseases, it helps doctors in the diagnosis of post-polio syndrome. So, the doctor conducts the following tests that are beneficial in the diagnosis of post-polio syndrome.
Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies
The doctor basically conducts this test to find the speed of nerve signals in the muscle. They study the muscle through electrodes. Then inserts some thin needle into the muscle of the patient. That needle is attached to the instrument which basically measures the nerve signals speed. It measures the activity of muscles both at rest and at the time of contraction. If the doctor finds any abnormality in the nerve conduction, he/she gets sure about any problem related to this disorder.
As we know that our brain controls our whole-body functions. Any problem in the brain causes problems in body functions. So, for this purpose, the doctor goes for the imaging of the brain to find any abnormality. Imaging is done through an MRI or CT scan. In these tests, the complete image of the rain occurs on the computer screen. If the doctor finds any problem in the spinal cord, he/she gets confirmation that something causes this syndrome.
Basically, in this test, the doctors take some parts of the muscles. He/she test that part of the muscles to find is there any problem in the muscle.
People with this problem have accurate blood tests. So, to confirm whether a person is suffering from this problem or not, the doctors conduct the blood test. If there is any problem with the blood test, it becomes confirm that there is not any problem with polio.
Treatment of Post-Polio Syndrome
Basically, there is not any specific treatment of the post-polio syndrome. The doctor only recommends some medicines and therapies for the treatment of the post-polio syndrome. Let’s see them in detail:
This treatment of post-polio syndrome is very beneficial. Basically, it helps in making our muscles strong. But in this activity, you don’t have to stress your muscles. You do exercise but do not overburden your exercise in this therapy.
In some patients, pain relievers work very well in the treatment of the post-polio syndrome. Aspirin and ibuprofen are very good for relaxing the muscles.
If the person goes through polio in the past, in such a person there is not any specific way to prevent this syndrome. However, in people who never suffer from polio vaccine of polio is the best way to prevent this disorder.
Post-polio syndrome is basically the problem of bones and muscles and its causes and symptoms vary in people. But the most common cause of this problem is polio in any part of life. The doctor recommends going for the diagnosis of post-polio syndrome immediately if anyone goes through polio and feels weakness in bones. The treatment of post-polio syndrome totally depends on medicines and therapy. Basically, it is a naturally occurring problem. A person can only avoid it by just going through the vaccination of polio.