Ever woken up with a sudden change in the way your face looks? One half of face paralysed?
Don’t worry. You may be suffering from Bell’s Facial Palsy, a form of neurological disorder very common, affecting almost 1 in 65 persons.
Face is supplied by nerves and the paralysis of one of the facial nerve results in what is called as Bell’s palsy.
When to suspect Bell’s palsy?
- One half of face paralysed
- Face appears asymmetrical
- Difficulty in closing the same side eye leading to watering and redness of the same eye
- Deviation of angle of the mouth
- Dribbling of saliva from one side of the mouth
- Loss of taste sensation on one side
- Reduced number of creases on one half of fore head on looking up
- Pain in the ear
- Reduced hearing from one of the ears
Conditions leading to Bell’s palsy:
- Most commonly it is idiopathic (that is the cause remains unknown)
- Other less common illness that predispose to Bells Palsy are
- Viral infection (VZV, HSV)
- Lyme Disease
- Guillaine Barre Syndrome
- Ear Infection
Problems that one faces due to Bell’s palsy:
Inability to close the eye leads to excessive watering of the eye, dust accumulation, eye infection, redness conjunctivitis (Consult first with eye experts such as AOS)
- Reduced facial expressions
- Spilling of liquids from the angle of the mouth
- Drooling of saliva
- Difficulty in swallowing and tongue movements
- Accumulation of food particles in the oral cavity leading to tooth infections, dental caries
- Social stigma, depression, anxiety
Management of Bell’s palsy:
- Steroids– a brief 5 to10 day period use of glucocorticoids orally, most effective when used in early stages of illness
- Antiviral agents– like acyclovir, valcyclovir
- Physiotherapy Physiotherapy plays a very important role. Oral exercises
- Facial muscle strengthening exercises
- Cosmetic surgical procedures on the face, for those with permanent facial palsy, not improving since a long time.
Things one shouldn’t forget while getting treated for bells:
- Wear glasses most of the times to avoid eye infections, exposure to dust, foreign particles etc
- If severe, simply close the paralysed eye by bandagingwith a gauze piece and tape, during sleep, to prevent drying of the eye.
- Brush regularly two to three times a day, use antiseptic mouth washes – to avoid stuck food particles in the mouth, prevents tooth infections, improves oral hygiene.
- Watch for side effectsof Steroid therapy – can cause deranged sugars especially if you’re a diabetic, causes acidity/gastritis etc.
- Follow face exercises regularly
- One must continue daily routine activities including work, as it helps in reducing stress and anxiety, due to idleness, and helps one concentrate less on the illness.
When does it recover?
It recovers in 85-90 % patients fully, within weeks to months time.
In the remaining it may not recover despite best management efforts.
In a few percent 5-7% it can occur again.
Please do not take any mentioned drugs or treatments without the advice of your doctor. For accurate diagnosis and treatment of Bell’s palsy / Facial Palsy, take at appointment at Jain Hospital by calling 9015 111 222.