If you experience a sudden paralysis of your face muscles, you are probably suffering from Bell’s Palsy. The loss of face muscle control can be total or partial, resulting in an overall weakness of one side of your face. This symptom is accompanied by a decrease in taste and a sudden drop of saliva secretion and tears production in the affected eye. This is a very unaesthetic condition, so let’s take a look and see how it can be treated. Before that though, do mind that partial face paralysis can be also a symptom of a stroke, which is a fatal health problem! In case of stroke the patient usually experiences loss of sense in one of his limbs and other symptoms, but it’s better not to risk anything and contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Bell’s Palsy Symptoms
The sudden onset of this facial muscles condition ranges from a few hours to a few days. The weakening sets in out of the blue and can affect any age group. It’s occurring both in patients with a genetic background as in does that don’t seem to do anything wrong. This is why prevention of this disease is currently impossible. The face muscle palsy leads to a dropping face expression. The eyelid from the affected half of the face will refuse to close. The forehead on the same part tends to become smoother. Another characteristic of Bell’s Palsy is the visible dropping of the mouth corner. The patient finds smiling troublesome and can experience pain in his jaw area and behind the ear. Increased hearing sensitivity is also a symptom as are the above mentioned changes in taste, saliva and tears.
Facial Weakness Causes
There are other causes that can lead to partial or total facial paralysis, but they aren’t diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy sufferers because the condition is generated by 3rd parties like:
– Viruses: could lead to facial nerve infection. Most suspected ones are: the herpes simplex virus (cold sores), herpes zoster (chickenpox), Adenovirus (Respiratory condition) and Epstein-Barr (Mononucleosis);
– Injuries: severe ones like skull fractures with facial nerve injury ramifications;
– Illnesses: other conditions that could lead to tumor formation in the upper neck area;
– Surgeons: if a facial nerve is accidentally touched during ear surgery.
Bell’s Palsy Treatment
This condition affects around 1.8% of individuals during a lifetime. Happily, 80% of them fully recover by themselves within a few months, while the rest need additional care. Even, those that develop mild cases still need relief until their problem heals. This is why your doctor could prescribe eye drops with artificial tears, to prevent injury to the affected eye. Eyeglasses and patch-protection could be useful during the day and night in order to avoid cornea scratches, in case of non-closing eyelid.
Those suffering from a more severe form of Bell’s palsy could receive corticosteroid prescriptions but their efficiency is questionable. Physical exercises, like face massages could also prove efficient, because paralyzed muscles lose size and tone. Performing adequate exercises will maintain your muscles in shape until the affection is treated.
Although by many considered, plastic surgery is only recommended in case of permanent face paralysis, to make the condition less visible.