How Long Does Post-Polio Fatigue Typically Affect a Patient?


Quick Answer

Post-polio fatigue, a symptom of post-polio syndrome, is the gradual and permanent weakening of muscular function, and onset can occur years after the disease is overcome, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Despite the condition's permanency, post-polio syndrome is not considered life-threatening, and individuals can continue to enjoy a fairly normal life if accommodations are made according to the severity of symptoms.

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Post-polio syndrome does not affect all polio survivors, and as of 1995, it is thought to occur in 25 to 40 percent of those who recover from the disease, reports the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Symptoms of post-polio syndrome are thought to stem from the degeneration of individual neuron terminals. To compensate, neurons that survive the disease grow additional connections to the surrounding muscle tissue, recovering much of its functionality. Despite this recovery, extended use of the functional, yet overextended neurons lead to a weakening of the tissues.

Currently, there is no treatment to address the onset of post-polio syndrome, and the degeneration of muscle function is generally permanent and irreversible, explains the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The severity of the symptoms varies from patient to patient, with recovering individuals who experience severely debilitating degeneration from the disease often developing the worst post-polio symptoms. Additionally, there are currently no preventative actions that can be taken by patients to alter or defer the onset of post-polio syndrome. Despite this, doctors often recommend maintaining healthy living habits such as proper nutrition, regular sleep cycles, abstinence from smoking and excessive drinking, and exercise when it does not cause further deterioration of the affected muscle tissue.

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