Did you know that Bell’s Palsy afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year? It can affect both men and women equally and can occur at any age. A Dulles Neurology specialist discusses the vital facts and his opinion about Bell’s Palsy below.
What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s Palsy is a temporary facial paralysis caused by a disrupted facial nerve resulting in interruption in the messages that the brain sends to the facial muscles. This interruption results in facial weakness or even paralysis.
According to Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, an expert neurologist in Leesburg Va, Bell’s Palsy only affects one side of the face which becomes weak and droops. However, in rare cases, it can affect both sides of the face.
What are the Symptoms and Causes of Bell’s Palsy?
Our expert neurologist in Leesburg breaks down the symptoms and causes of Bell’s Palsy.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy varies from male to female and ranges in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis. The primary symptoms include:
- paralysis on one or rarely both sides of the face
Other symptoms may include:
- dropping of the eyelid and corner of the mouth
- dryness of the eye or mouth
- impairment of taste
- excessive tearing in one eye
According to our Leesburg and Dulles neurologist, most of these symptoms usually begin suddenly and reach their peak within 48 hours that can lead to significant facial distortion. Moreover, these symptoms can also lead to discomfort around the jaw and behind the ears, headache, and dizziness, hearing problems and impaired speech, and even difficulty in eating or drinking.
Bell’s Palsy transpires when the nerve that controls the facial muscles is inflamed, swollen, or compressed which can result in facial weakness or paralysis. However, what causes the nerve damage is completely unknown.
Most scientists believe that a viral infection such as meningitis and common cold sore virus causes this disorder. They believe that what causes the facial nerve to swell and to become inflamed is its reaction to the said viral infection.
Bell’s Palsy has also been associated with other diseases such as influenza, chronic middle ear infection, hypertension and diabetes, sarcoidosis, Lyme disease, tumors, and trauma like skull fracture and facial injury.
How it is Treated?
Recent studies have found that steroids like steroid prednisone are effective in treating Bell’s Palsy. Other drugs such as acyclovir can shorten the course of this disease. Analgesics like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can also relieve the pain. Due to possible drug interactions, our expert neurologist in Leesburg recommended that it is best to consult a doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs.
Other therapies such as physical therapy, facial massage, or acupuncture may also provide a potential small improvement in facial nerve function and pain.
On top of that, the best way to protect yourself from any illnesses and infections is to go to your doctor for regular check-ups. After all, prevention is better than cure.