What Is Bell's Palsy?


Bell's Palsy is a paralysis or weakness on one side of the facial muscle that is temporary. This condition causes one side of the face will look "sag". Although not yet known the exact cause, Bell's Palsy is more common in pregnant women, diabetics, and HIV. Damaged nerves in the face will affect the sense of taste and the way your body produces tears and saliva. Bell's palsy comes suddenly and generally this condition will improve in a matter of weeks. In most cases of Bell's palsy, paralysis on one side of the face can be completely restored. If you experience paralysis on one side of the face, see your doctor immediately to understand the conditions that occur while getting the right medical treatment.

Symptoms of Bell's Palsy
Bell's palsy has different symptoms in some people. The paralysis that occurs on one side of the face can be explained as paralysis (mild muscle weakness) or as total paralysis (no movement at all). The mouth and eyelids will also be affected due to Bell's palsy, these two parts will be difficult to open and close.

Bell's palsy is a disorder that occurs only in the muscles and facial nerves. This condition has no impact on the performance of the brain or other body parts. If paralysis on one side of your face is accompanied by paralysis or weakness in other body parts, consult a doctor immediately.

The Cause of Bell's Palsy
Bell's palsy occurs when the innervation that controls the muscles in the face is irritated or depressed. The cause of nerve irritation is still not known clearly, but some types of viral infections are suspected to be the cause of this condition, among others: the virus h erpes simplex (HSV) , varicella-zoster virus, epstein barr virus, cytomegalovirus, syphilis , and Lyme disease .

Diagnosis of Bell's Palsy
To confirm the diagnosis of Bell's palsy, your doctor will ask you for the history of your symptoms. In addition, the doctor will also perform physical and nerve checks to determine the function of facial nerve. If the symptoms are not clear, you may be advised to perform some tests, such as electromyography, MRI , or CT scan .

Treat Bell's Palsy
To reduce the swelling that occurs in the facial nerve, prednisolone or prednisone (corticosteroid drug group) can be used. As for preventing the appearance of problems in the eye that can not close, you may need eye drops. As for closing your eyes, you need isolation.

Bell's palsy can recover fully in 70 percent of patients who experience it. In most people who suffer from Bell's palsy, symptoms begin to improve after two or three weeks. But to be fully recovered will require about nine months. The length of the recovery period depends on the degree of nerve damage suffered.

Bell's Palsy Complications
Here are some complications that may occur due to Bell's palsy:
  • Eye disorders.
  • Difficulty eating, drinking and talking.
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis on an ongoing basis.
  • Facial muscles twitch.
  • The ability of sense sensors to decline.
Especially in Bell's palsy associated with heredity, it is possible that this condition will recur in the future.

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Symptoms Of Bell's Palsy
The symptoms that appear on Bell's palsy grow rapidly and reach its peak within two days. The symptoms may vary. The following are symptoms that usually appear on Bell's palsy.
  • One side of the face will experience paralysis or weakness. The affected side of the face will look sag and you can not move it. You will find it difficult to open or close your eyes and mouth.
  • Ear pain on the facial side of paralysis.
  • The affected ear will be more sensitive to sound.
  • Ring in one ear or both.
  • Decrease or change in the sense of taste.
  • The affected part of the mouth will easily drool.
  • The mouth is dry.
  • Pain around the jaw.
  • Headache and dizziness .
  • Difficulty eating, drinking and talking.
The symptoms that appear above usually begin to improve within two to three weeks and finally recover fully within nine to ten months. No tests can be done to confirm the diagnosis of Bell's palsy. Tests are performed to rule out other possible neurological disorders, such as stroke. Other conditions that can bring up similar symptoms are:
  • Tumors . Abnormal tissue growth.
  • Stroke . Disconnected blood supply to some parts of the brain that are dangerous and can be life threatening.
  • Moebius's syndrome . Conditions that are very rare and occur from birth.
  • Middle ear infection . A fairly common condition occurs in children caused by bacterial or viral infections.
  • Lyme Disease . Infections caused by bacteria spread by lice.
  • Headache . Conditions that can happen to everyone due to a blow, a fall, or an accident.
  • Cholesteatoma . Abnormal skin tissue in the middle ear.
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The doctor will check your head, ears, and neck. Then the doctor will also examine the facial muscles to ascertain whether only the facial nerve is affected. If the doctor does not find any other condition, it can be concluded that the symptoms occur is due to Bell's palsy.
Here are some tests that can be done:
  • Electromyography . This check is useful for measuring the electrical activity of your muscles and nerves. Information provided by this tool can be used to determine if there is nerve damage.
  • MRI . This procedure can be done to determine the cause of pressure on your facial nerve.
  • CT scan . This procedure is performed to determine other conditions that cause your symptoms, check whether there is an infection or tumor. This procedure can also determine if there is a fracture of the bone in the face.

The Cause Of Bell's Palsy
Bell's palsy is caused by nerves that control muscles or facial nerves that are inflamed or crushed. From the brain, the facial nerve passes through a narrow gap near the upper jaw. When the facial nerve is squeezed or inflamed, the signals sent to the brain facial muscles will be disrupted. This disorder that inhibits the supply of blood and oxygen to the nerve cells, resulting in weakness or paralysis of the face.

The cause of this nerve irritation is still not known clearly, but the herpes virus is believed to be the main cause of this problem. There are two types of herpes virus that are thought to cause nerve irritation, namely:
  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV) . There are two types of herpes simplex virus that are thought to irritate facial nerves, namely HSV type 1 which causes cold afternoon (blisters on the lips area) and HSV type 2, which is the cause of genital herpes.
  • Varicella zoster virus . This type of virus causes chicken pox and smallpox. This virus is less likely to cause Bell's palsy, but it can lead to more serious conditions, namely Ramsay-Hunt syndrome
In addition to herpes virus, several other viral infection conditions are also suspected of being able to cause Bell's Palsy, including:
  • Lyme Disease . Infections caused by bacteria spread by lice.
  • Syphilis . This disease is caused by Treponema pallidum virus.
  • Epstein - Barr virus . This type of virus causes glandular fever.
  • Cytomegalovirus . This virus belongs to the herpes virus group. This virus can cause symptoms similar to flu, glandular fever, sore throat, and swollen glands.
HIV and diabetes are also likely to cause Bell's palsy, although until now the reason is not known with certainty. Upper respiratory tract infection can also be a factor that increases the risk of experiencing Bell's palsy.

In women who are pregnant and entering the third semester also have a higher risk of experiencing Bell's palsy. This disease can occur in the first week of women who have just given birth. In addition, heredity is also influential in increasing the risk of experiencing Bell's palsy. In other words, a person is more at risk of experiencing Bell's palsy if there are members of his family with the condition.

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Bell's Palsy Treatment

If a person has sudden facial paralysis, you should immediately be taken to the nearest hospital. According to the study, treatment of Bell's palsy would be very effective if done within the first 3 days after the initial symptoms appear.

Although without special treatment, usually the case of Bell's palsy can be fully restored. Treatment is usually required to speed up the healing process and prevent the emergence of complications due to Bell's palsy.

Handling on Bell's Palsy
Here are some treatments and treatments done for Bell's palsy.
  • Prednisolone . This drug is highly recommended as the most effective treatment of Bell's palsy. Should this drug be given 72 hours since the initial symptoms appear. This medicine will be prescribed for 10 days and consumed twice a day. Find out more about prednisolone .
  • Antivirus . Until now, the role of antiviral drugs is still a debate. However, doctors may prescribe antiviral or antiviral combined with prednisone in patients with severe facial nerve defects.
  • Eye care . Patients with Bell's palsy will find it difficult to close their eyes. This can cause tears to evaporate, so the eyes become drier and more susceptible to infection. Tears play an important role to protect and keep eyes free of dirt and bacteria. Doctors will prescribe eye drops for daytime and eye drops at night.
  • Physiotherapy . Physiotherapists will teach you some exercises that can strengthen facial muscles. This is done to improve coordination and range of movement. This procedure is helpful in cases of Bell's palsy, although not everyone is in accordance with this procedure.
  • Botox injections . Especially in patients with chronic or long-term Bell's palsy, botox injections may be given to treat affected and unaffected faces. This injection serves to relax the facial muscles that tighten or reduce unwanted muscle movement. These injections also serve to balance facial movement, overcome the discomfort felt during meals, and improve overall facial appearance. Botox injections generally need to be repeated every four months.
  • Plastic surgery . The surgeon will help overcome the weakness or paralysis of your face. Although surgical procedures can not restore nerve function as before, but can protect the eyes and improve facial appearance, and improve the function of a weak face. Plastic surgery procedures are performed to improve the function of the eyelids, improve the position of the mouth, assist in talking, eating, and drinking, and improve the balance of face shape.
  • Other treatments . Relaxation and acupuncture techniques are said to help speed up recovery from Bell's palsy and restore facial nerve function.

Bell's Palsy Complications

Complications that occur due to Bell's palsy is very dependent on nerve damage that occurs. Most people with Bell's palsy will recover by themselves within a period of nine to ten months. But long-term complications can occur especially if you:
  • Aged over 60 years.
  • Experiencing severe pain when the first symptoms appear.
  • Have total facial paralysis on one side of the face.
  • Experiencing severe facial nerve damage.
  • Have hypertension or diabetes.
  • Is pregnant.
  • The signs of recovery only start after two months.
  • Not experiencing signs of recovery after suffering for four months.
Some Bell's palsy sufferers will re-experience the disease in the future on the other side of the face. This condition usually occurs when Bell's palsy is related to genetic factors or derivatives.
Here are some of the long-term complications that could be caused by Bell's palsy:
  • Weakness of the face . About two to three out of ten people with Bell's palsy will experience permanent facial flaws. Some children are born with paralysis and others suffer from facial weakness after injury to the facial nerve.
  • Speech disorder . This condition arises as a result of damage to the facial muscles of people with Bell's palsy.
  • Dry eyes and corneal ulcers . Corneal ulcers may appear because the eyelids are too weak to fully close. As a result, the eye protective layer becomes not functioning properly. This condition can cause blindness and eye infections.
  • The sense of feeling is reduced or lost . This condition can occur if the nerve damage can not recover properly. Some also often tear when eating.
  • Facial contractures . This condition occurs when the facial muscles experience tension permanently. Facial defects, narrowed eyes, thickened cheeks, and a line between the nose and mouth grow deeper as a result of contracture of the facial muscles.
  • Eye and mouth syncinesis . This condition arises when the facial nerve grows back in a different way. When eating, laughing, or smiling, the eyes can blink. In severe conditions, the eyes will be completely covered when eating.

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