Diseases & Conditions
Shortly after, vaccines were
developed that greatly reduced its spread. Today,
hardly anyone in developed countries gets polio, and
the disease is well on its way to being eliminated
in developing countries, thanks to massive
immunization efforts with oral polio vaccine.
But for some people, some of the initial problems
they had with polio are reappearing in a condition
called post-polio syndrome (PPS). The cause is
unknown, but new research is beginning to yield a
better understanding of this complex syndrome.
Weakness in your leg muscles makes it easier for you to lose your
balance and fall. A fall may result in a broken bone, such as a hip
fracture, leading to other complications.
People who've had bulbar polio, which affects nerves leading to
muscles involved in chewing and swallowing, often have difficulty
with these activities as well as other symptoms of PPS. Chewing and
swallowing problems can lead to inadequate nutrition and
dehydration, as well as aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by
inhaling (aspirating) food particles into your lungs.
Weakness in your diaphragm and chest muscles makes it harder to take
deep breaths and cough, which ultimately leads to accumulation of
fluid and mucus in your lungs. Obesity, curvature of the spine,
anesthesia, prolonged immobility and certain medications can further
decrease breathing ability, possibly leading to acute respiratory
failure. This is characterized by a sharp drop in blood oxygen
levels and may require you to undergo ventilation therapy (positive
pressure ventilation). If you're to have surgery, even dental
surgery, and require general anesthesia, let your doctor or dentist
know that you have PPS. Even people with PPS who seem healthy may
have respiratory difficulties.
Prolonged immobility and paralysis is often associated with loss of
bone density and osteoporosis, in men as well as women. If you have
PPS, you may wish to be screened for osteoporosis.