What is Bell's Palsy Illness?
Bell's Palsy illness or idiopathic facial paralysis is a condition in which the muscles in the face go through paralysis and temporary weakness.
Sometimes the nerve which controls the facial muscles gets swollen and inflamed and this causes drooping and stiffness on one side of the face, and it makes it difficult to show emotions through your face, like closing the eye, smiling, etc.
In India alone, more than 50,000 to 1 lakh people every year suffer from this disease. And this number reaches above a lakh in many developed and underdeveloped nations. In this blog, we have covered in detail everything you need to know about Bell's Palsy Illness.
What are the Causes of Bell's Palsy Illness?
There are various causes for Bell's Palsy illness : It can occur by getting infected through various viruses, like -
Herpes Simplex - causes chilly sores and genital issues.
HIV - which can fully damage the immune system.
Sarcoidosis - causes organ infection and inflammation.
Herpes Zoster Virus - causes chickenpox and shingles, Etc.
Or when the seventh cranial nerve becomes inflamed because of swelling or compression.
The inflammation causes a reduction of the blood flow and the oxygen to the nerve cells, and this damages the cranial nerve and the nerve cells and this puts hard pressure on the nerve, controlling the facial muscles, and as a result, the facial muscles get paralysed.
What are the Symptoms of Bell's Palsy Illness?
Symptoms of Bell's Palsy tend to come suddenly and within 48-72 hours, it reaches its peak.
While many people at first go through mild symptoms. Some experience total paralysis.
Here are a few things one may experience -
Facial Drooping and difficulty in making Facial Expressions.
Loss of Taste.
Difficulty in eating, drinking, and speaking.
Frequent pain around, the jaw and behind the ear of the affected side.
Dry mouth or eye.
Sensitivity to sounds. Primarily from the affected side.
Facial Weakness. Etc.
What are the Risk Factors of Bell's Palsy?
You are at a higher chance of developing Bell's Palsy if you are:-
A Diabetes Patient.
Family History of the condition.
Weakened Immune System.
What are the Complications of Bell’s palsy?
One good news is that the majority of the people with Bell's Palsy recover completely without any complications.
However, some people might experience serious further complications, and these include -
Synkinesis - a condition where one part of the face causes another part of the face to move involuntarily.
For example, you may find it difficult to smile with both eyes open.
Eye Conditions - Because of the extreme dryness in the eye on the affected side, several complications like eye infections, vision loss, or ulcers may occur.
Damage of the Seventh cranial nerve, which is majorly responsible for controlling the facial muscles.
How to Prevent Bell's Palsy?
Presently there is no known way to prevent Bell’s palsy.
Treatment of Bell's Palsy Illness?
In most cases, the condition goes away on its own.
But it largely depends on the reason because of which it is caused and the severity of your symptoms.
If the condition is serious then your doctor may recommend the following treatments -
To deal with inflammation - Corticosteroids.
For Pain - Pain Medications.
Eye drops to keep the eyes hydrated.
And for any other underlying issues - antibacterial or antiviral medications.
Home Remedies -
Massages in the facial area.
Warm compress to relieve pain.
An Eye patch to protect the eyes from dryness.
Physical Therapy -
Paralyzed facial muscles need physical therapies to prevent contracting permanently and ease the pain in the process.
It is advised that if you develop any of the above-given symptoms, then immediately visit the Doctor because the symptoms of Bell's Palsy are serious as conditions like stroke, brain tumor, or even cancer.
Recovery from Bell's palsy depends on the severity of the nerve damage and one can possibly see improvement starting within 2 to 3 weeks or max 4 weeks after the initial onset of the symptoms.