Symptoms of post-polio syndrome include muscle atrophy, breathing problems, difficulty swallowing, decreased cold tolerance and sleep-related breathing disorders, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients may also experience progressive weakness and pain in the joints and muscles.
Some patients may experience fatigue or exhaustion after limited activity, explains Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of post-polio syndrome progress slowly in most patients, and periods of stability are common. Post-polio syndrome presents symptoms years after the initial acute poliomyelitis virus infection, and symptoms most commonly affect the muscles that were affected by the original illness, notes the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Increasing skeletal problems such as scoliosis and pain from joint degeneration may precede weakness and atrophy, and severity of symptoms varies widely from patient to patient.
As there are no specific tests available to diagnose post-polio syndrome, the physician uses a comprehensive symptom inventory and medical history to diagnose the condition, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Warning signs include previous paralytic poliomyelitis with motor neuron loss, a period of functional recovery that may have lasted 15 years or more and symptoms that persist for at least a year. Previous polio sufferers experiencing symptoms of post-polio syndrome should contact a medical professional immediately for diagnosis and treatment.