Bell’s Palsy! It’s a sudden and temporary weakness that can affect the huge part of your face. As per stats, 1 in every 5,000 people suffer this rare condition technically; it’s a paralysis of the facial nerve that can happen to anyone.
It is a form of trauma which is related to the seventh cranial nerve, which controls facial expression, the muscles on the neck and forehead as well as eyelid movements. Bell’s Palsy occurs because of swelling or inflammation of the nerves that control the muscles of your face.
Imagine waking up in the morning with the feeling that you can’t move the one side of your face. You will have difficulty in controlling the facial muscles and will feel that your face tends to droop. The situation might also affect the production of tear and saliva as well as the sense of taste.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy is caused because of damage to the facial nerve, which causes swelling in the muscles. This damaged nerve passes through the narrow area within the skull.
Further, when the nerve swells, it will push the skull’s hard surface and affect the nerve. Researchers like Dr. Azizzadeh show that people recovering from viral infections or having diabetes are likely to suffer this disease.
However, the exact causes are still unknown. The viruses or bacteria that are linked to the development of Bell’s Palsy are:
- HIV, it affects the immune system
- Sarcoidosis causes organ inflammation
- Chickenpox and shingles
- Mumps virus
- Hand-foot-and-mouth infection
- Lyme diseases, which causes a bacterial infection
- Herpes simplex causes cold sores and genital herpes
- Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis
Symptoms Of Bell's Palsy:
The symptoms of Bell’s Palsy develop after one or two weeks of you having ear infection, cold, or other eye infection.
They are sudden; you might notice them when you wake up in the morning or when you try to drink or eat. You will feel droopy appearance on one side of the face and have difficulty to open or close your eyes.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Bell’s Palsy Are:
- Difficulty in making facial expressions like smiling or closing eye
- Sense of mild weakness or complete paralysis on one side of the face
- Pain around the jaw area or behind the ear on the affected side
- Muscle twitches at face
- Dry eye and dry mouth
- A decrease in the ability to taste
- Having the sensitivity to sound
- Irritation in the affected side of the eye or having difficult to blink one or both eyes
- Changes in the number of tears and saliva that occur in your mouth
Who Are At The Risk Of This Disease?
You can suffer this rare condition if you:
- Have any history of someone from the family suffering from it
- Have diabetes
- Are pregnant
- Have lung infections
Common Misconceptions Of Bell's Palsy:
- Cold Temperature Is One Reason For Bell’s Palsy: While people think that the condition was due to the body’s exposure to the cold temperature, it’s not true!
- Chewing Gum Can Help You Repair The Condition: Chewing gum can help regain muscle control. However, it can make the situation worse because the continuous moment of chewing can cause synkinesis. This can also cause rebuilding in the damaged nerves.
- Bell’s Palsy Is A Type Of Stroke: Since both stroke and Bell's Palsy can cause paralysis, both situations are different. Strokes are the result of disrupted blood flow in the part of the brain, but Bell's Palsy occurs due to inflammation in the cranial nerves.
Treatment And Recovery:
Treatment of Bell's Palsy includes using ocular lubricants like eye ointments, artificial tears and more. There are facial workouts that help you recover the disease. Close the eye gently, if you have difficulty in keeping eyelids close.
With the proper care and eating routine, you can easily recover from Bell's Palsy. However, the recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the damage done to the nerve. Also, it's very rare to have continuous or permanent symptoms of this disease.