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I am a almost 67 yr. old female, with Post Polio Syndrome. In the past year, I have noticed that I require a lot of sleep. I have had my physical from my heart doctor and family doctor, and all is well. My only theory is that I am very active, and then it catches up with me, and the motor neurons are continuing to be over used and it is my body telling me to really take it easy. I have no prior notice that my body is going to have a meltdown. I can easily sleep 10-12 hrs. per night. I am a night person, so if i go to bed at 11:00, I will sleep to 11:00 AM. I don’t feel bad, just that I have to sleep and rest.

Post Polio Syndrome is a chronic condition that affects those infected with polio – often many years after the initial infection. Patients with Post Polio Syndrome experience gradually progressive muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, and fatigue. Researchers don’t know the exact mechanism of the condition but believe it to be very slowly progressive in a step-wise fashion as patients generally experience years of latency followed by a gradual new onset muscle weakness and fatigue. The condition is generally not life threatening nor contagious but can significantly impact the patient’s daily activities.

Your symptoms are indeed consistent with Post Polio Syndrome but the condition is a diagnosis of exclusion. Therefore, your doctors must exclude other neuromuscular, endocrine, medical, and orthopedic conditions before settling on the diagnosis.

Three conditions, that should be ruled out, with symptoms similar to what you are describing are: Hypothyroidism, Myasthenia Gravis, and Lambert-Eaton Syndrome. Hypothyroidism is a disease process where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone resulting in the patient feeling increasingly sensitive to cold, depressed, constipated, and fatigued. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disorder of the neuromuscular junction that results in increasing weakness of muscles with activity that improves with rest. Lambert-Eaton Syndrome is a condition where the neurons innervating muscle cells do not release enough neurotransmitting chemicals resulting in muscle weakness; it can be a result of autoimmune diseases or a syndrome associated with certain cancers.

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