Let's Get to Know, What is Bell's Palsy ?
Definition of Bell's palsy
Bell's palsy was discovered by the Scottish anatomist Sir Charles Bell. Bell's palsy is a condition where facial paralysis occurs on one side of the face caused by interference with the facial nerve that controls the muscles in question. Bell's palsy happens suddenly and is not permanent. The symptoms that are experienced by people affected by Bell's palsy include:
- Paralysis on one side of the face
- Difficulty closing the eyes, so the eyes become dry
- Pain or discomfort behind the ear to the jaw
- Taste changes on the tongue
- ringing ears,
- Unable to control drooling
What causes bell's palsy?
Bell's palsy can happen to anyone. The trigger for Bell's palsy can be a viral infection, decreased body immunity (stress, sleep disturbances, minor illnesses or autoimmune diseases). It can also be caused by an infection of the facial nerve or nerve damage due to trauma/injury. The risk of Bell's palsy will increase in people who are experiencing pregnancy, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
What are the investigations that can be done to find out if you have bell's palsy?
Supporting examinations that can be carried out as a confirmation of the diagnosis of Bell's palsy are:
- Electromyography (EMG): this procedure is performed by placing electrodes on the patient's face. The machine will measure nerve activity and muscle activity in response to stimulation. This test is useful to determine the extent of nerve damage, as well as its location.
- MRI, CT Scan, or X-rays. This examination is done to determine whether there is another condition underlying the disease, such as a bacterial infection, skull fracture or tumor that is causing pressure on the nerves.
- Blood test to check whether there is a viral or bacterial infection.
How to treat if you have bell's palsy?
The treatment of Bell's palsy can use anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation. In addition, antivirals can be given if the cause is a viral infection, and anti-pain to reduce discomfort in a stiff face. Physiotherapy and self-help facial exercises can help speed healing. With proper medication and exercise, Bell's palsy can heal without sequelae.