Bell’s Palsy is essentially a disease that causes partial paralyzation of the face, and can be mild or very severe and varies from person to person. Learn the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy, and what can be done to treat this frightening condition.
Bell’s Palsy rarely affects individuals under 15 or over 60, and this facial paralysis disease occurs when one or more muscles controlling your facial movement becomes inflamed or swollen, leaving your face feeling stiff. One side of your face may droop while the other side does not, or the whole face can be affected, which is rare.
Warning signs of Bell’s Palsy include sudden sensitivity to sound on one side of the face, the inability to taste, being unable to fully smile or close one eye, a lack of production in saliva or tears, and pain in the jaw or behind the ears of the side of your face that is affected.
It is important to seek professional assistance from your doctor if you feel any facial paralysis, which can happen over a few hours or a few days, or even suddenly, to make sure that a stroke is not occurring or other neurological issues are going on.
Bell’s Palsy is most commonly caused by the cold sore or herpes viruses, or via viruses connected to shingles. The virus that causes chickenpox and mono are also known to be culprits behind Bell’s Palsy, and since these viruses always live within the body once contracted (even if they are not recurring in the body), they can cause Bell’s Palsy, which can strike at any time. These viruses attack the face via making muscles in the face swollen and inflamed, and paralysis, partial or whole, is the result.
People most at risk for Bell’s Palsy are those who are pregnant, particularly in the third trimester or just after giving birth, people with diabetes, and people who are suffering from an upper respiratory infection or flu, which weakens the immune system and allows these dormant viruses to strike.
Mild Bell’s Palsy typically clears within a month, but severe cases or recurring cases (which are rare) can lead to permanent facial damage or blindness in an eye that won’t fully close. However, with medical treatment, most cases clear within a month, even cases that have no medical assistance. Diagnosis is usually made via visual consensus of the doctor, although they may perform other tests to rule out tumors, Lyme disease, a stroke, or other serious illnesses. Treatment for Bell’s Palsy typically includes antiviral drugs or home remedies of Ibuprofen to ease the swelling and a warm cloth to help the swelling muscles.
If you notice any numbness or irregularity of your face, see your doctor immediately, and be detailed of your symptoms and concerns. Your doctor will want to know your medical history and may or may not diagnose you with Bell’s Palsy simply by touching your face and asking you to make basic facial movements and diagnosing you based on what you are unable to do with your face.