Understanding Post Polio Syndrome
There are 1.63 million polio survivors in the United States: as many as 75 percent of whom will experience loss of strength or other post-polio symptoms. Research to determine what may cause some polio survivors to weaken and develop new medical problems continues.
Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after they've recovered from their initial bout with the disease. An interval of 30 to 40 years usually lapses before the first PPS symptoms occur,but intervals as short as eight years and as long as 71 years have been documented. Modern rehabilitation may restore individuals with post-polio to their regular level of functioning; it may also require that they return to or begin using braces, crutches, canes, wheelchairs and a variety of adaptive equipment.
New weakness is the general symptom of PPS. Muscle strength decreases when the nerve supply to the muscle is reduced. Symptoms can appear in the muscles that were affected at the time polio was contracted or in previously unaffected areas. Most new pain problems in polio survivors result from repetitive strain injuries to weakened muscle fibers and muscular tissues.