Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Survivors and Physicians

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is a common way many cultures and individuals socialize and deal with stress. Although studies have identified benefits associated with lower levels of drinking, even “moderate” drinking has effects and risks. Alcohol is a drug that is a depressant and, for polio survivors, should be avoided because it can interfere with swallowing and nutrition, and impair judgment and/or coordination that can lead to falls or other accidents. If there is any respiratory insufficiency (see Underventilation), it is especially important to avoid the use of alcohol just before bedtime, because alcohol can impair the autonomic breathing centers of the brainstem, as well as cause increased relaxation of throat muscles during sleep, resulting in obstructive sleep apnea (see Sleep Apnea).