Paralysis is the most common and popular name that most of us know and Bell’s Palsy is actually a kind of paralysis. This happens due to the weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. Damage to the nerve in the face that controls the muscles on one side of the face leads the side to droop. This nerve damage can affect the taste sense and how a patient makes saliva and tears. This condition generally occurs all of a sudden and it can get better on its own within a few weeks. Palsy is actually not the result of a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a stroke. Even though, TIA and stroke can lead to facial paralysis, there is no link between Palsy and either of these conditions. However, unexpected weakness that occurs on one side of the face should be attended by a doctor to rule out these more serious causes.
Even though, the actual cause behind Palsy is not known, most of the patients get this condition due to the effect of herpes virus that is generally known to cause cold sores. In most patients, the nerves that controls muscles on one side of the face get damaged due to inflammation. Many health issues can actually cause weakness or paralysis of the face. If the particular cause is not known for paralysis, the condition can be called as Bell’s Palsy.
• Increased sensitivity to sound
• Pain in or behind the ears
• Sudden paralysis or weakness on one side of the face that leads to drooping face. It can become harder for the patient to close the eyes on one side of the face
• Loss of taste sense
• Eye problems like excessive tears or dry eye
• Numbness in the affected side of the face
When these symptoms are experienced, it is better to seek medical help to get the right diagnosis.
How is it diagnosed?
This condition will be diagnosed by the doctor by asking some questions to the patient related to the development of the symptoms. To check the functioning of nerves in the face, a physical or a neurological examination may be conducted. If the cause is not clear, other tests might be suggested like CT Scan or MRI and blood test.
Most people with this condition get recover without the requirement of any treatment. This is applicable to patients, who are in a position to still move their facial muscles. But, some people might have permanent muscle weakness or other problems on the other issues on the affected side of the face. A corticosteroid might be recommended to bring down the risk of long-term problems. Even, antiviral medicine can be suggested by the doctor. Antiviral medicines does not alone help in recovery from this condition.
The patient might be taught some facial exercises like for eye care and mouth care, so that faster relief can be obtained by the patient.