The Signs and Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy

Bells palsy can be a traumatic experience for the patient who may suffer from associated troubles ranging from severe headaches, dizziness to blurred speech. Symptoms of bells palsy would include abnormal blinking, impaired sense of taste and facial distortion. Patients cannot close, blink, squeeze or cry with the eye of the affected side which remains open all the time.

There are no specific signs and symptoms of bells palsy which can be traced over time, helping you to predict the onset of bells palsy, since it is a sudden attack. Apart from the virus Herpes Simplex, little is has been found about the signs and symptoms of bells palsy. However, studies and statistics reveal that the frequency of its occurrence is more in pregnant women, diabetes patients and those infected with Lyme disease. This list is however not exhaustive. Bells palsy is neither restricted to an age group nor sex linked.

In many theories, bells palsy has also been linked with increased stress levels and hypertension. These inversely affect the immunity level of the body. A weak immunity system is more susceptible to virus attacks, making way for Herpes Simplex 1.

Signs and symptoms of bells palsy are not prolonged. The suddenness of bells palsy is its characteristic trait. If your facial paralysis has given you prolonged symptoms and is not the result of an overnight condition, then it cannot be termed as bells palsy. Such a condition would need extra medical attention and the doctor may prescribe additional CT scans and MRIs. Facial paralysis can be a result of stroke, Lyme disease, a tumour etc. These additional tests would help ascertain the exact cause of the facial paralysis and whether it is due to bells palsy.

Overnight signs and symptoms of bells palsy may include sudden stiffness behind the ear, heaviness in the face, inability to close the eyes, sagging eyebrows and droopy smile. Within a couple of days from experiencing the first signs and symptoms of bells palsy, the patient will be unable to control any muscular movement of the affected half of the face.

On seeing the first signs of stiffness the patient should immediately consult the doctor without any delay for correct diagnosis of the paralysis. The doctor would prescribe some steroids and anti viral medicines that would help relieve some of the pain and inflammation. More than the medicines, emphasis is given on facial exercise. The doctor would prescribe some simple set of exercise that would help gaining back the flexibility and movement of the facial muscles.

Although bells palsy is not life threatening, it does traumatise the patient physically and psychologically who may be unable to come to terms with the tragedy. The condition develops overnight and is too sudden for the patient to get familiar with.

On maximum occasions, it is self cured since it is caused by an inflamed nerve. As the swelling reduces, the nerve begins to transmit signals to the facial muscles which respond accordingly.  Any negligence in treatment can lead to impaired sense organs. Special care need to be taken for the patients affected eye and his sensitive ear. Lack of proper care and medical attention may lead to catastrophes like a damaged cornea.

Since an exhaustive list of what causes bells palsy is not available, an extensive research programme is being carried out around the globe, in renowned institutions to understand what causes bells palsy more minutely. Methods and drugs are being developed to reduce the damage and injury that is done to the nerve during the ailment.

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