loader

Decoding Bell's Palsy: Unveiling the Origins, Symptoms, and Management

Oct 31, 2023

Oculofacial Plastic Surgery

Decoding Bell's Palsy: Unveiling the Origins, Symptoms, and Management Decoding Bell's Palsy: Unveiling the Origins, Symptoms, and Management

Bell’s Palsy is a neurological disorder where the patient suffers weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. The leading cause of Bell’s Palsy is dysfunction of the cranial nerve VII. This nerve establishes a connection between the brain and the muscles controlling facial expressions. 

In the USA, almost 40,000 people are affected by Bell’s Palsy annually. This neurological disorder can impact people of all age groups and all genders. However, people in the age group of 15-45 years old are most vulnerable. This blog explores the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Bell’s Palsy. 

Understanding What Is Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy, also called acute peripheral facial palsy, is a nerve disorder with sudden weakness in facial muscles on one side. The cause of this problem remains unknown to date. The weirdest thing is that the problem might start abruptly and worsen in 48 hours. Damage to the 7th cranial nerve often leads to facial paralysis. 

People suffering from Bell’s Palsy often have discomfort and pain on one side of the head or face. The only point of relief is that in the majority of cases, the facial weakness or paralysis is temporary; it improves significantly over weeks. However, some people experience symptoms throughout life.   

People with Bell’s Palsy often have half of their face drooping, one-sided smiles, and the eye on the paralyzed side resists closing. 

Leading Causes of Bell’s Palsy

Before discussing Bell’s Palsy treatment modes, you must know the causes of the neurological disorder. Scientists presume that viral infections often trigger inflammation of the 7th cranial nerve, causing this problem. Some of the viruses which might cause this neurological disorder are:

  1. COVID-19
  2. Herpes Simplex 1 (causing mouth infections like cold sores and genital herpes)
  3. Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis)
  4. Varicella-Zoster virus (causing shingles and chickenpox)
  5. Mumps virus
  6. Adenovirus (respiratory illnesses)
  7. Cytomegalovirus infections
  8. Rubella (German measles)
  9. Influenza B (flu)
  10. Coxsackievirus (hand-foot-and-mouth disease)  

A weak immune system might also act as a trigger for Bell’s Palsy. Some triggers include:

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Stress
  3. Physical trauma
  4. Illnesses
  5. Autoimmune conditions

What Are the Initial Bell’s Palsy Symptoms?

Bell’s Palsy symptoms vary from one individual to another. Some symptoms are severe, leading to complete facial paralysis; for others, it might be mild facial weakness. The appearance of symptoms is abrupt and sudden. Here are the typical symptoms of a Bell’s Palsy patient:  

  • Droopy appearance on the affected side of the face
  • Inability to close or open eyes on the affected side
  • Eye irritation in the weak side of the face
  • Facial weakness
  • Inability to smile or frown or make other facial expressions
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Pronunciation difficulty in some words
  • Difficulty in drinking and eating
  • Headache
  • Muscle twitches in the face
  • Dry mouth and eyes

What Are the Risk Factors for Bell’s Palsy?

Certain conditions aggravate the risks of suffering from Bell Palsy. These risk factors are as follows:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Obesity with a BMI of 30 or more
  • Preeclampsia
  • History of Bell’s Palsy

How Is Bell’s Palsy Diagnosed?

Bell’s Palsy eye treatment starts after the diagnosis of the issue. Initially, the health care professional will check the patient entirely and look at the symptoms. The doctor asks about the onset of the signs and if they change with time. During the physical examination, the doctor asks to move the facial muscles somehow.   

Though Bell’s Palsy can be diagnosed with physical check-ups and symptoms only, many doctors recommend specific tests to ensure that facial paralysis is not due to other medical conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, etc. The doctor might recommend blood tests, electromyography (EMG), CT scans, MRI, and lumbar puncture tests. 

How Is Facial Paralysis Treated?

In most cases, Bell’s Palsy symptoms improve with time and do not need any treatment. However, doctors recommend specific therapies for quicker recovery and relief. 

Oral corticosteroids: It helps decrease nerve inflammation, leading to faster facial movements. 

  • Eye care: Eye drops soothe irritated and dry eyes. Eye care is crucial as the cornea stands at high risk as a complication of Bell’s Palsy. 
  • Electrical stimulation: Electrical stimulation does not benefit much for Bell’s Palsy patients. 
  • Antiviral medications: These help speed up recovery and work in severe cases. 

Summing it up.

Patients with Bell’s Palsy are often embarrassed about their appearance. With proper care, treatment, and therapy, the symptoms reduce and improve with time. Make sure that you find the best facial paralysis treatment near me soon so symptoms don’t aggravate. 

Remagin is one of the best places for Bell’s Palsy treatment near me. The clinic offers high-quality services in ophthalmology and oculofacial plastic surgery under the guidance of able medical professionals. Contact us today or call us at (407) 704-3937. 

FAQs

  1.  What 4 muscles are affected by Bell’s Palsy?

The muscles that are affected by Bell’s Palsy include orbicularis oculi, frontalis, buccinator, orbicularis oris, and platysma.  

  1.  Which nerve causes Bell’s Palsy?

When the facial nerve, the 7th cranial nerve, is damaged, it leads to Bell’s Palsy. 

  1.  Can Bell’s Palsy be cured?

Currently, there is no cure for Bell’s Palsy. This neurological disorder is not permanent, and symptoms reduce within a few months. In rare cases, the symptoms remain as they are, and no improvements exist. 

  1.  What viral infection causes Bell’s Palsy?

Certain viruses are suspected to be linked to Bell’s Palsy. Some of them include Varicella-Zoster virus (causing shingles and chickenpox), Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis), Rubella (German measles), Herpes Simplex 1 (virus causing mouth infections like cold sores and genital herpes), etc. 

Things You Should Know About an Optomap Retinal Exam Things You Should Know About an Optomap Retinal Exam
Things You Should Know About an Optomap Retinal Exam
IPL Photofacial Treatment: An Effective Way to Rejuvenate Your Skin IPL Photofacial Treatment: An Effective Way to Rejuvenate Your Skin
IPL Photofacial Treatment: An Effective Way to Rejuvenate Your Skin
Cataracts: Exploring Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options Cataracts: Exploring Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
Cataracts: Exploring Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
How to Identify and Manage Eye Allergy Symptoms? How to Identify and Manage Eye Allergy Symptoms?
How to Identify and Manage Eye Allergy Symptoms?
How Does Botox Injection Work to Revitalize Your Skin? How Does Botox Injection Work to Revitalize Your Skin?
How Does Botox Injection Work to Revitalize Your Skin?
TAP TO CALL Book an Appointment