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Bell's palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis. It usually affects just one side of the face. Symptoms appear suddenly and are at their worst about 48 hours after they start. They can range from mild to severe and include

  • Twitching
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Drooping eyelid or corner of mouth
  • Drooling
  • Dry eye or mouth
  • Excessive tearing in the eye
  • Impaired ability to taste

Scientists think that a viral infection makes the facial nerve swell or become inflamed. You are most likely to get Bell's palsy if you are pregnant, diabetic or sick with a cold or flu.

Three out of four patients improve without treatment. With or without treatment, most people begin to get better within 2 weeks and recover completely within 3 to 6 months.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Bell's Palsy

The following features are indicative of Bell's Palsy:
  • muscle twitching
  • weakness
  • loss of the ability to move both sides of the face
  • drooping of the eyelid
  • change in taste
  • pain around the ear
  • increased sensitivity to sound
It is possible that Bell's Palsy shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
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Common Causes of Bell's Palsy

The following are the most common causes of Bell's Palsy:
  • mononucleosis
  • cytomegalovirus infections
  • respiratory illnesses
  • german measles
  • mumps virus
  • influenza B
  • hand-foot-and-mouth disease

Risk Factors for Bell's Palsy

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Bell's Palsy:
  • diabetes
  • recent upper respiratory tract infection

Prevention of Bell's Palsy

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Bell's Palsy. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • protect yourself from nerve damage

Occurrence of Bell's Palsy

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Bell's Palsy cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Bell's Palsy most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-50 years

Common Gender

Bell's Palsy can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Bell's Palsy

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Bell's Palsy:
  • House-Brackmann score: To assess degree of nerve damage
  • Blood tests: To identify other health problems that may be causing the symptoms of Bell's palsy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans: To diagnose the facial nerves
  • Electromyography: To analyse the damage to the facial nerves

Doctor for Diagnosis of Bell's Palsy

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Bell's Palsy:
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Neurologist

Complications of Bell's Palsy if untreated

Yes, Bell's Palsy causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Bell's Palsy is left untreated:
  • facial dysfunction
  • a reduced quality of life

Procedures for Treatment of Bell's Palsy

The following procedures are used to treat Bell's Palsy:
  • Physiotherapy: Maintain muscle tone and stimulate the facial nerve of the affected muscles
  • Surgery: Improve outcomes in facial nerve palsy and helps in smile reconstruction

Self-care for Bell's Palsy

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Bell's Palsy:
  • Protect your eyes: Use lubricating eye drops, glasses during the day and an eye patch at night to keep your eye protected from getting scratched
  • Apply moist heat: Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to get relief from pain
  • Do physical exercises: Massaging and exercising the face relaxes and strengthens the facial muscles

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Bell's Palsy

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Bell's Palsy:
  • Relaxation therapies: Meditation and yoga may relieve muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Acupuncture: Stimulate the nerves and muscles
  • Biofeedback training: Teaches you to control over the facial muscles
  • Vitamin therapy: Helps in nerve growth

Patient Support for Treatment of Bell's Palsy

The following actions may help Bell's Palsy patients:
  • Support Groups: Helps in dealing with the physical, emotional and social effects

Time for Treatment of Bell's Palsy

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Bell's Palsy to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 3 - 6 months

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Bell's Palsy.

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