Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors©
Throughout life, people move in one direction or another on the wellness continuum ranging from maximum performance on one end to serious illness or premature death on the other end. Polio survivors do not need to constantly struggle from one health crisis to the next. While some health problems require professional assistance, others can be controlled by the individual. Once they have seen appropriate health professionals to alleviate and manage the late effects of polio and other unrelated diseases, survivors should consider the following to improve their day-to-day overall sense of wellness and ability to participate in life.
Focus on personal wellness and the prevention of new health problems. Concentrate on being in the best state of health and/or enjoying a sense of harmony with oneself and life. Moving toward wellness is an ongoing process based on a personal decision to maintain a balance among the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual aspects of life.
Make conscious and achievable lifestyle and behavior choices that promote good health. The smallest changes, if consistently practiced, for example, eating one more piece of fruit a day or doing deep breathing exercises three times a week, can make a powerful difference over a period of time.
Conduct a self-inventory. What health and lifestyle behaviors are currently gratifying and working well? What unhealthy behaviors and habits would best be eliminated or diminished? What health-promoting practices are missing?
Commit to regular checkups to monitor health with a primary care physician who understands the strengths and limitations of being a polio survivor.
Read reputable, educational information on acknowledged, beneficial health practices, including tactical suggestions on how to achieve individualized wellness goals.
Set a few realistic wellness goals.
Connect with supportive people. Start or join a post-polio or disability group which emphasizes wellness, not "being sick." Knowledgeable health care professionals can present on a variety of health topics, such as advice on stress management, appropriate physical activity, balanced diets, smoking cessation. Other important topics related to wellness are breast self-examination techniques; screenings for cancer, diabetes and cholesterol levels; and adult vaccinations.