Bell’s palsy

Overview

Bell’s palsy causes sudden weakness in your facial muscles. This makes half of your face appear to droop. Your smile is one-sided, and your eye on that side resists closing.Also known as facial paralysis, Bell’s palsy can hit people of any age, brought on by something as simple as common cold. Mercifully, however, it is a passing problem, meaning it disappears in a few months by itself even without much treatment. Though the exact cause remains unknown it’s believed to be caused by the swelling and inflammation of nerves that control facial muscles and may be a reaction that follows viral infection.Generally, this most common of all types of facial paralysis affects only one side of the face with the symptoms setting in rapidly and peaking in 48 hours. Bell’s palsy often causes significant facial distortion.

Most scientists believe that a viral infection such as viral meningitis or the common cold sore virus — herpes simplex– can cause the disorder when the facial nerve swells and becomes inflamed in reaction to the infection.Symptoms usually start to recede within a few weeks and patients recover completely in about six months. A small number of them, however, carry the symptoms for life. Rarely, does Bell’s palsy recur.In extreme cases the palsy may result in irreversible damage to facial nerves and misdirected regrowth of nerve fibers, resulting in involuntary contraction of certain muscles when you’re trying to move others (synkinesis) — for example, when you smile, the eye on the affected side may close.

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