Post-Polio Syndrome - Symptoms

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What were your symptoms associated with post-polio syndrome?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white circle:

What are the symptoms of post-polio syndrome?

Symptoms include slowly progressive muscle weakness, unaccustomed fatigue (both generalized and muscular), and, at times, muscle atrophy. Pain from joint degeneration and increasing skeletal deformities such as scoliosis are common. Some patients experience only minor symptoms. While less common, others may develop visible muscle atrophy, or wasting.

Post-polio syndrome is rarely life-threatening. However, untreated respiratory muscle weakness can result in underventilation, and weakness in swallowing muscles can result in aspiration pneumonia.

The severity of residual weakness and disability after acute poliomyelitis tends to predict the development of post-polio syndrome. Patients who had minimal symptoms from the original illness will most likely experience only mild post-polio syndrome symptoms. People originally hit hard by the poliovirus and who attained a greater recovery may develop a more severe case of post-polio syndrome with a greater loss of muscle function and more severe fatigue. It should be noted that many polio survivors were too young to remember the severity of their original illness and that accurate memory fades over time.

According to estimates by the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 440,000 polio survivors in the United States may be at risk for post-polio syndrome. Researchers are unable to establish a firm prevalence rate, but they estimate that the condition affects 25 percent to 50 percent of these survivors, or possibly as many as 60 percent, depending on how the disorder is defined and which study is quoted.

Patients diagnosed with post-polio syndrome sometimes are concerned that they are having polio again and are contagious to others. Studies have shown that this does not happen.

Return to Post-Polio Syndrome

See what others are saying

Comment from: shermada, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I contracted polio in 1970 at age 8 from the Sabin oral vaccine. It took about 4 or 5 months to recover, however about a year later I began having problems with my knee joints swelling. Now, for the past few years I have been dealing with increasing muscle fatigue, generalized fatigue and muscle pain. I am also experiencing increasing numbness. And I fall a lot. My life was ruined because of this vaccine. I wish my parents would have just skipped it and took their chances. A doctor told me years ago that only one half of one percent of people vaccinated develop polio from the vaccine. That the benefits outweigh the risks. That"s all well and good as long as you aren"t the unlucky one half of one percent.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I contracted polio in 1952 at age 15 months. I wore braces and had a muscles contract with muscle wasting on my right side. After surgery and being sent to a rehabilitation facility, at age 8 for a year, I was expected to fit in, and spent much of my time trying to measure up to everyone else. I married right out of high school and was able to have 3 children. As I look back on it, I was still trying to catch up. I picked professions that were physically hard. I was a hair dresser and would stand for hours and be exhausted. I went to nursing school at age 40 and became a registered nurse. At work, I had periods of weakness and had trouble doing my job, which was lifting, pushing, pulling standing, stooping, etc. I began falling almost on a daily basis, and again tried to hide the fact that I was too weak and it was getting worse. I could hardly struggle out to my car after a shift. This is just a little of the symptoms I had. I also have shortness of breath and trouble swallowing at times. Exercise makes my muscles waste even further. Joint problems with surgeries another symptom. It is getting worse as I age.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!