Roughly one out of every 60 people who read this post will experience Bell’s palsy at some point in their lifetime. It is for this reason we feel that it’s important to be educated on what Bell’s palsy is, what the symptoms, and the possible causes of this mysterious condition, particularly because the signs and symptoms are often mistaken for a stroke.
Bell’s palsy is particularly difficult to diagnose, because no single test can actually diagnose it. The cause is also unclear, but several viral infections have been linked to it including cold sores and genital herpes, chickenpox and shingles, mononucleosis, mumps, and even the flu, among others. Typical characteristics that tip doctors off include a very quick onset, even overnight. Also, unlike strokes or tumors that normally cause paralysis below the eye, Bell’s palsy affects an entire side of your face.
What is Bell’s palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a paralysis of the face, where the weakened side becomes flat and expressionless, although normal sensations can still remain. Typically this only involves one side of the face, but there have been cases where both sides have been affected. Bell’s palsy is believed to be the result of swelling or inflammation of the facial nerve that controls muscles.
Bell’s palsy can cause some serious complications. Since you can’t close the eye on the affected side, your eye runs the risk of becoming dry and could lead to blindness. There may also be irreversible damage to your facial nerve, or re-growth of the nerve fibers may be misdirected and cause certain muscles to become involuntarily active when trying to move others.
How is Bell’s palsy treated?
Fortunately most cases resolve on their own in a few months, but some patients experience lasting effects. Corticosteriods help with the inflammation and are typically the most effective at improving recovery. Other treatment options depend on the patient’s specific case. These include antiviral drugs, physiotherapy, and surgery. Some studies have also suggested improvement in Bell’s palsy patient’s symptoms as a result of supplements, including methylcobalamin and omega-3 fish oils. If this is an option you’d like to explore, be sure to check with your doctor first.
We hope you find this information useful, and hope you never have to utilize it. Keeping you healthy and happy is our priority, so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, just let us know!
By David Benic, DR Vitamin Solutions