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Post Polio Syndrome

Q: I wonder if you can help me please. My husband had polio when he was 4 in 1957 and was in hospital for around a year and then physio for 3 more years finishing when he was 8 ( he has virtually no memory of it all and my in laws do not discuss).
My husband also had a polio vaccination when my son was 6 months old and having his polio vaccination ( we no longer vaccinate so the kids have not had anything else )

My husband constantly falls asleep - everywhere regardless of how much sleep he has had at night. He does snore for Britain and it is so awful I no longer sleep with him as the noise is dreadful. He can literally be sitting on the edge of a chair with his eyes open but glazed over and he starts snoring !!! It is now a standing joke but very annoying and frustrating for all of us.

His constant fatigue is my major worry though as he simply does not do anything or get involved in his life. Yes he works long hours and yes he carries a bit too much weight but he tells me he is constantly hungry and in fact if he goes without having food for 4 hours he feels faint and simply has to eat regardless ( his blood sugar levels are fine). I am wondering if Simba would be helpful for him ? I use Filisa and also recommend it to some of my patients ( I am a Hypnotherapist) so find Filisa very good but thought perhaps Simba might help his system balance as I don't know what damage the polio has done to him.


A: It sounds as if your husband suffers from Post-polio syndrome.

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a chronic (long-term) condition of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). As its name suggests it occurs following infection with the contagious polio virus (poliomyelitis) which affects the central nervous system and can cause paralysis. Epidemics of polio occurred during the 1940s and 1950s and in the 1970s many survivors of the polio epidemics noticed new problems such as muscle weakness, increasing fatigue, decreased endurance for activity and painful muscles. The terms post-polio syndrome, or late effects of polio were coined to describe the condition. PPS tends to be diagnosed anywhere up to 40 years after the initial polio infection, but not everyone who has had polio will develop PPS. In New Zealand it is estimated that there are 3000 to 5000 polio survivors. Approximately 25% of these people will suffer from PPS. PPS usually develops gradually over a period of years. In some cases however, the condition can occur more suddenly over a period of months. Signs and symptoms vary in duration and severity but can include fatigue - often severe - and breathing difficulties  PPS tends to occur more frequently and more severely in individuals who were worst affected during the initial polio infection, but made the best recovery.
When you say that your husband doesn't do anything or get involved in his life I wonder if he is depressed because that would be a classic symptom?
Of course there are many other things which can cause constant tiredness and, if you hadn't told me that his blood sugar levels were fine I would suspect type 2 diabetes. That would also explain the constant hunger. However, if the problem is hypoglycaemia and your husbands blood sugar levels have been tested when he has just eaten, his sugar levels would be OK. Has he had a fasting blood sugar test do you know?  
Then of course we have possible candida infection or candida overgrowth. Ad you will know, our intestines are home to both friendly and unfriendly bacteria, which we need to keep in balance. The friendly bacteria help us digest food to provide the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients we need to stay healthy and energetic. When the unfriendly bacteria or yeast outnumber the good bacteria, our intestinal health is compromised, which can lead to multiple health problems. Stress,antibiotics or a weakened immune system all set the stage for yeast overgrowth. Antibiotics kill both the good and the bad bacteria in our intestines, but not the yeast. .

All of the above factors contribute to yeast imbalances ranging from a slight overgrowth in the intestinal tract to full-blown cases of Candida Albicans. Yeast overgrowth initially hinders our bodys ability to properly digest food and obtain nutrients. Sometimes the yeast turn into a fungus, further interfering with our body chemistry. Yeast imbalances and the resulting nutrient deficiencies can cause constant hunger or cravings for certain foods. These food cravings can lead to mood swings, weight gain, allergies, constant fatigue and depression.  

Thyroid problems can also lead to fatigue. In fact, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause a person to feel tired constantly and lethargic (also depressed)  Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesnt release enough of its hormones, resulting in weight gain and a number of other symptoms I've just suggested. These conditions can be diagnosed with blood tests, x-rays and physical examinations and I would suggest that your husband should have his thyroid function tested to eliminate this.

We have a professional physiotherapist working here at Little Herbal and he suggests that your husband's sleep problem and snoring may be caused by sleep apnoea. Snoring is generally a mechanical problem and so, if your husband is snoring at night this will be disturbing his sleep (without him realising) and, along with him being slightly overweight, this can cause the sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a condition that interrupts your breathing when you are asleep. This is usually caused by an obstruction blocking the back of the throat so that the air cannot reach your lungs. The cessation of breathing automatically forces you to wake up in order to start breathing again. This can happen many times during the night, making it hard for your body to get enough oxygen, and preventing you from obtaining enough good quality REM sleep. The physiotherapist suggests graduated exercise and weight loss (his GP should be able to recommend a programme for him)

I would suggest that both Simba and Filisa could help your husband and they work very synergistically with each other. As you rightly say, Simba (African Potato tuber) can help to balance and regulate the immune system and restore normal immune functioning. This can also, in turn, help to regulate any potential thyroid or blood sugar imbalance. Filisa (Sutherlandia Frutescens) naturally contains GABA, an inhibitory neuro-transmitter responsible for feelings of well being. When we are depressed, anxious and stressed we can suffer from a shortage of GABA and so Filisa puts it naturally back into
the body.

I hope this is useful. If I can help any further please let me know.

With kindest regards,

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