A survey carried out on behalf of the British Polio Fellowship revealed that 55% of GPs are unable to diagnose the debilitating effects of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) which affects up to an estimated 100,000 people in the UK.An estimated 120,000 people in the UK today were affected by Polio – now largely eradicated in the UK. Up to 80% of these will develop PPS – a disease which can be as debilitating as Polio itself. PPS can arise 20 – 40 years after the initial disease; symptoms include: muscle wastage, muscle and joint pain, and mental and physical fatigue, as well as impaired circulation and breathing.
However, proper diagnosis and treatment can stabilise and reduce the progress of PPS and dramatically improve the lives of sufferers. Without treatment symptoms will deteriorate.The survey’s findings are supported by a further British Polio Fellowship survey carried out amongst the organisation’s 10,000 members.
This revealed that it takes a shocking average of six years to get a diagnosis for PPS.PPS is a very serious condition but fast diagnosis can alleviate symptoms and delay deterioration. Many medical personnel could be unknowingly working with someone with undiagnosed PPS – from physiotherapists, to nurses and GPs.
We urgently need to raise the profile of this disease and ensure that everyone with PPS is getting the treatment they need.
The GP Net survey also showed that only 18% of GPs know how to treat PPS once diagnosed.