Bell’s palsy - Dream Health

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy
Bell’s palsy connected to Facial Nerves

Bell’s palsy is a temporary paralysis or weakness which occurs on one side of the face. Damage is caused to the facial nerve which controls the muscles on one side of the face. This can lead the face to droop and the damage may also lead to affect the sense of taste, saliva and the tears.

Bell’s palsy is not the outcome of any stroke or a transient ischemic attack – TIA. Symptoms of Bell’s palsy may differ from person to person with partial palsy which is a mild muscle weakness or complete palsy wherein there is a possibility of no movement or paralysis.

Bell’s palsy can also affect the eyelid and mouth and can tend to make it difficult to close and open them. In some rare cases, it may also affect both the sides of a person’s face. Bell’s palsy occurs when the nerve which controls the muscles in the faces tends to get compressed though the exact cause is unknown.

It is presumed that the facial never becomes inflamed due to a viral infection and variants of the herpes virus could also be responsible. Most cases are presumed to be caused by the herpes virus that causes cold sores, while in other cases the nerves controlling the facial muscles gets damaged due to inflammation.

Complications leading to Speech Problems & Tensing of Muscles

Several health problems may cause paralysis or weakness of the face and if a specific reason is not identified for the weakness, this ailment can be related to Bell’s palsy. Its symptoms may include sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face which may cause it to droop, which is the main symptom in Bell’s palsy.

Closing of the eye on that side of the face may be difficult. Eye drops may be needed to prevent complicating problems and if the person is unable to close their eyes, tape may be used to close the eyes while sleeping.

The person may also have eye problem with excessive tearing or dry eye, loss of ability to taste, numbness in the affected area of the face, pain behind or in the ear, drooling, and increased sensitivity to sound. Complication may also include speech problems and tensing of the muscles.

Recovery depending on Extent of Nerve Damage

Bell’s palsy, a rare condition affects about 1 in 5,000 people and is more common between the age group of 15 and 45 though people outside this age group may also tend to suffer from this ailment and it may affect both men and women alike. Pregnant women and those with diabetes and HIV may also get affected, for reasons yet unknown.

Most people affected with partial Bell’s palsy recover completely with or without much treatment and most of them notice improvement in their symptoms within one to two months but those with permanent muscle weakness or other problems on the affected side of the face would find it difficult and treatment would be necessary.

Recovery may vary from person to person depending on the extent of the nerve damage. Diagnose is done by a series of question from the physician on its development with a physical as well as a neurological examination to check the facial nerve function and if not clear, other tests like blood test, a CT scan or MRI would be needed.

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