Bell’s Palsy vs Strokes

When debating over which can be more life threatening in bells palsy vs stroke, stroke wins the battle. Bells palsy is often confused with stroke. The two are not only caused due to different reasons but have a different lasting impact too. They may look similar but are not.

Facial paralysis is caused due to inflammation of the facial nerve or inflammation of the bone canal which covers the facial nerve. This inflammation is caused due to the virus Herpes Simplex 1. The virus affects maximum individuals and lies dormant in the human body surfacing only as cold sores or fever blisters. In few cases however, it may inflame the facial nerve and cause bells palsy.

Whereas paralysis due to stroke is caused when there is a sharp reduction in the blood supply to the brain. This reduction in the blood supply can be due a leakage in the blood carrying vessels, or a blood clot prohibiting natural flow of blood. Though bells palsy and stroke paralysis may look similar, there are ways to differentiate between them.  The following details will help you distinguish between bells palsy vs stroke and enabling you to seek appropriate medical help.

1)    Bells palsy is solely and completely associated with facial nerve damage and it will not affect any other part of the body. Whereas, stroke may cause paralysis of the face, arm and/or leg.

2)    Bells palsy renders all those muscles ineffective which are controlled by the facial nerve which includes the muscles which help us raise our eyebrows. But, if the paralysis is due to stroke, the patient would be able to raise his/her eyebrows.

3)    Since, bells palsy is due to inflammation of the nerve, the patient recovers completely in maximum cases as soon as the swelling of the nerve reduces. The inflammation is not life threatening and is mostly self healed. However in case of a paralysis due to stroke, medical intervention is a must as it is life threatening in nature.

4)    Stroke can be a result of an individual’s lifestyle pattern, his overall health, dietary habits, cholesterol levels, smoking habits, hypertension etc. Symptoms for stroke can be traced over time. Early detection and a change in the lifestyle pattern can help lead the individual a normal life, free from the hazards of a stroke paralysis. Whereas, in the case of bells palsy, no such common pattern among people has been found which would help the researchers make a risk analysis. As for the virus Herpes Simplex 1, majority of the general population is affected with it and its presence does not guarantee a bells palsy attack either.

5)    Bells palsy does not lead to haemorrhage. There is no internal or external bleeding involved. It is a simple inflammation of the nerve. A stroke can however be followed by a haemorrhage, which if not treated can lead to patient’s death.

6)    During stroke, those brain cells which do not receive blood begin to die. This can cause permanent damage which cannot be reverted back. However bells palsy is a temporary phenomenon and is cured completely in maximum cases.

As stated earlier, between bells palsy vs stroke, stroke is a more permanent, damaging and threatening medical condition which needs urgent attention. Although consulting a doctor is a must in any form of paralysis, between bells palsy vs stroke, stroke calls for immediate tests and treatment at its earliest. Only after the medical diagnosis, the ailment can be correctly comprehended and treated for best results.

More Articles