Bell's palsy has been considered to be the most common reason for facial palsy. This disease results in the damage or the inflammation of the facial nerves and hence a person loses control over the expressions of his/her face. This disease damages the nerves that control the muscles of the face and are also responsible for carrying the taste sensation from the tongue. As a result the disease causes the paralysis of the facial nerve. A person affected by this disease is not able to control the facial muscles of the affected side of the face.
Bells Palsy gets its name after Scottish anatomist Charles Bell. It is termed to be as the most common form of acute mononeuropathy as well as facial nerve paralysis. The disease, which is usually self limiting, in most cases involve the paralysis of a single nerve in the body. What is a significant point to note about the disease is that post infection the palsy states within a single day.
The exact cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown. It is believed that viral infection plays an important role for causing this disease. The viral infection causes inflammation and creates a pressure on the nerve. The herpes simplex virus and the Lyme disease play an important role in accelerating this disease.
The infection of the herpes simplex virus type 1 is connected with the nerves’ demyelination. Researches has also shown that the often the replication of the virus alone is not responsible for the damage of the facial nerves. However, researches have shown that the lyme disease is responsible for damages of the facial nerves and hence can be considered to be associated with Bell’s palsy.
Bell’s palsy results in the inflammation or damage of the facial nerves resulting in making one side of the face weak. This disease also results in paralysis of the face. Both complete and partial paralysis results in drooping of both the corner of the mouth and the eyelids. Another symptom of this disease is the hypersensitivity to sound by the ear on the affected side as well as the watering of the eye of the side that has been affected.
Other symptom includes drooling from the mouth and taste impairment. A person suffering from this disease may not be able to close the eye of the affected side. Some people suffering from Bell’s palsy have myriad neurological symptoms. These symptoms include mild/severe headache and pain in the neck, facial tingling, memory problem, ipsilateral limb paresthesias, balance problems, ipsilateral limb weakness, etc.
The treatment of Bell’s palsy is controversial. In some cases of incomplete facial palsy, no treatment is required. However, people suffering from complete Bell’s palsy require medical treatment. Doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory corticosteroid for people who are not able to close their eye and mouth on the affected side. Prednisolone is one type of corticosteroid that is used for treating this disease.
The consumption of this for 3-9 months shows the chances of totally recovery. The disease is thought to be associated with the herpes virus. Because of this many neurologists prescribe acyclovir, an anti viral drug. Often doctors prescribe surgical procedures in order to decompress the nerves of the face. However, such surgeries are not often successful and the success rates are more than often chance oriented.
It is difficult to prevent Bell’s palsy as the cause of it not known. However, maintaining a strong immune system can help one to prevent this disease. One should always consult a doctor immediately if he faces any of the symptoms of this disease.