Bell’s palsy is a term referring to a form of temporary weakness and paralysis of the muscles on one or sometimes both sides of the face. It can happen to anyone but people in their 40’s are at higher risk of getting it. Usually it appears suddenly, overnight. The symptoms often make people think they had a stroke. The exact causes of Bell’s palsy are not known but it seems like it takes place when the nerves that control facial muscles are swollen. It has been associated with several conditions like stroke, Lyme disease, viral infections, flu or brain tumors.
Usually people recover spontaneously and achieve normal or near to normal functions. 10 days after the onset people show signs of improvement even without treatment. In many cases people cannot close the eye in the affected side. In this case they must protect the eye from drying up or else it could result in permanent damage of the eye and impaired vision.
The first symptoms if you get Bell’s palsy are paralysis and weakness on one side of the face. Most probably you won’t be able to fully close one eye. But there might other symptoms might include pain in or behind the ear, facial pain, no tears in one eye, altered sense of taste, heaviness or numbness in the face, altered sense of taste and dryness in one eye. Symptoms usually appear at once and it might be difficult for you to talk.
Anyway, if you experience progressive or steady paralysis you should be worried because it is not a sign of Bell’s palsy and it could be something worse. Over a few weeks or months, about 80% of the patients recover completely. There a few people who don’t recover completely and are left with symptoms such as asymmetrical smile, corneal damage, impaired speech and impaired taste. The most serious complication seen in a minority of Bell’s palsy cases is permanent mild facial paralysis.
Bell’s palsy is diagnosed by ruling out other possibilities. It is a diagnosis of exclusion. There is no cure for Bell’s pals as it usually resolves on its own. But to reduce long term nerve damages you should be diagnosed within 72 hours and get proper treatment. Doctors usually recommend treatment with anti-viral medications (valacyclovir or acyclovir) and corticosteroids. Antiviral medications are not very helpful when used alone but they can be effective when used along with prednisone. But more studies and research are necessary to clarify the role of antiviral medication.
I Nice Video Showing Recovery of Bell’s Palsy
Many people resort to alternative medicine, most often acupuncture is said to help. But because the actual studies are of low quality the efficiency of acupuncture remains unknown. Sometimes unusual food cravings occur and it’s OK to follow them especially fats as they are necessary for nerve repair. Also massaging the affected side of the face is recommended. The biggest problem in Bell’s palsy is the eye that won’t close. That eye needs special attention and special protection. The eye might not produce tears and remain open for about a week. Special lotions, eye drops and eye patches are recommended or else it might result in long term damage of the cornea and impaired vision.
For a fast recovery you will need specialized assistance of a neurologist in aventura florida.