First of all, we should be award what is Bell's palsy; It is a non-progressive neurological disorder of one of the facial nerves. This disorder is characterized by the sudden onset of facial paralysis that may be preceded by a slight fever, pain behind the ear on the affected side, a stiff neck, and weakness and/or stiffness on one side of the face. Paralysis results from decreased blood supply (ischemia) and/or compression of the 7th cranial nerve. The exact cause of Bell's palsy is not known. Viral and immune disorders are frequently implicated as a cause for this disorder. There may also be an inherited tendency toward developing Bell's palsy.
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy can develop one to two weeks after you have a cold, ear infection, or eye infection. They usually appear abruptly, and you may notice them when you wake up in the morning or when you try to eat or drink.
Bell’s palsy is marked by a droopy appearance on one side of the face and the inability to open or close your eye on the affected side. In rare cases, Bell’s palsy may affect both sides of your face.
Other signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy include: drooling / difficulty eating and drinking / an inability to make facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning facial weakness / muscle twitches in the face / dry eye and mouth / a headache / sensitivity to sound.
Call your neurologist immediately if you develop any of these symptoms. You should never self-diagnose Bell’s palsy. The symptoms can be similar to those of other serious conditions, such as a stroke or brain tumor.
In most cases of Bell’s palsy, only facial muscle weakness occurs and the facial paralysis is temporary. Most cases resolve with two to three weeks. Approximately 80 percent of cases are resolved within three months. However, some cases persist. Occasionally, only the upper or lower half the face is affected.
Based on a recent study, Bell’s palsy is a fairly prevalent disorder that affects males and females in equal numbers. It is estimated that between 25 and 35 in 100,000 people in the United States are affected with Bell’s palsy. Approximately 40,000 individuals are diagnosed with Bell’s palsy in the United States each year.Elderly individuals are more likely to develop Bell’s palsy than children, but the disorder may affect individuals of any age. However, pregnant women or individuals with diabetes or upper respiratory ailments are affected more often than the general population.
Your neurologist will first perform a physical examination to determine the extent of the weakness in your facial muscles. They’ll also ask you questions about your symptoms, including when they occurred or when they were first noticed. They also uses a variety of tests to make a Bell’s palsy diagnosis. These tests may include blood tests to check for the presence of a bacterial or viral infection. Your neurologist might also use an MRI or CT scan to check the nerves in your face.