It is estimated that 40,000 people per year experience Bell’s Palsy, a temporary form of facial paralysis. This is the most common form of facial paralysis, yet so much about this illness is unknown. Bell’s Palsy is only diagnosed when all other possible causes of facial paralysis are eliminated. While this condition is temporary, it can cause permanent damage. Expedient treatment is needed for the best outcome during recovery from Bell’s Palsy.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms Bell’s Palsy?
The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown, but it is believed to be related to dormant viral infections. The disease impacts the facial nerves, causing inflammation that can affect the function of the eyelids, tear ducts, saliva glands, taste and other facial functions. Bell’s Palsy typically only affects one side of the face and symptoms begin quickly, usually within 72 hours. Some of the symptoms include:
- Excessive tearing
- Drooping of the mouth
- Change in taste
- Inability to close eyelids
- Facial pain or abnormal sensations
Diagnosis is the first step to determining if symptoms are related to Bell’s Palsy or another form of facial paralysis. Once diagnosed, treatment can begin to prevent serious repercussions from the disease.
Bell’s Palsy Treatment and Recovery
Once Bell’s Palsy is diagnosed, treatment can begin to minimize damage to the nerves and muscles in the face. Most people with this condition will recover some or all their facial function within six months, but muscles can atrophy, and the nerves can suffer changes. Starting a regimen of medications within 72 hours of the first symptoms can minimize damage to the muscles and nerves. Reducing the inflammation affecting the facial nerves and managing dry eye caused by eyelid paralysis are vital for the best recovery outcomes.
Bell’s Palsy can affect anyone, but it is more common in ages 15-45. Those at higher risk include those who are pregnant, obese, diabetic or experiencing hypertension. If you notice any facial weakness or other symptoms of Bell’s Palsy, do not hesitate to contact us at New York Facial Paralysis. We can provide a quick diagnosis and begin treatment for the best possible outcome for your recovery.