Description of Bell's Palsy
A sudden paralysis of the facial muscles, usually on one side of the face but sometimes on both.
Persons most commonly affected by Bell's Palsy - usually adults of both sexes and all age groups.
Organ or part of body involved in Bell's Palsy - the facial nerve.
Symptoms and indications of Bell's Palsy
Paralysis on one or both sides of the face, resulting in an inability to move the eyelids and close or open the eyes, smile or close the mouth. The features on the affected side are flat and lacking expression. There may be pain, especially behind the ear, prior to the development of the paralysis. Some people experience loss of the sense of taste, and sounds may seem too loud if hearing is affected. A person affected by symptoms of Bell's palsy should seek medical advice so that the cause of the nerve disorder can be determined.
Treatment of Bell's Palsy
Recovery depends on the nature of the damage to the facial nerve, mayor may not be complete and may take some time. Treatment includes the use of heat (lamps or compresses) if there is pain and facial massage and exercises for the affected muscles once recovery is under way. While the person is unable to blink, the eyes require additional protection to avoid trauma and injury. This usually involves the wearing of an eye patch or goggles and the use of drops containing methylcellulose. Oral corticosteroid drugs may be prescribed, and in severe cases, which do not recover after six to twelve months, surgery may be performed to improve the function of the facial muscles.
Causes and risk factors of Bell's Palsy
The cause is thought to be inflammation of the facial nerve because of injury or infection or possibly a disorder of the immune system (an autoimmune disease).