Bell’s palsy is a condition that affects movement of the muscles in the face. The damage to the seventh cranial nerve affects the muscle of the face and at times the damage is so significant that can lead to paralysis of the face. Bell’s palsy is named after a Scottish Anatomist Charles who was the first person to describe this condition.
Usually the symptoms appear following a cold, ear or eye infection and they occur so rapidly that you might notice them upon waking or when trying to eat or drink. Bell’s palsy can affect either or both sides of the face and is marked by the droopy appearance on one side of the face and the inability to open or close the eye on the affected side. Some other common signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy include drooling, difficulty in eating and drinking, dry eye, headache, muscle twitches in the face and inability to make facial expressions such as smiling or frowning.
Although this disorder affects the seventh cranial nerve but the exact reason behind this is still not known. Many think that viral infection is most likely to cause of the condition. Conditions that play a role in the development of Bell’s palsy include: HIV, middle ear infection, herpes simplex, sarcoidosis, herpes zoster virus, Esptein- Barr virus and cytomegalovirus.
People who have diabetes or lung infection have more chances of getting Bell’s palsy. It may also occur in women who are pregnant especially during the third trimester or have a genetic predisposition to it.. Some people may also have recurrent attacks of Bell’s palsy which is rareSome other risk factors include:Bacterial infections like Lyme disease or typhoid fever, syphilis, tuberculosis. Neurological disorder like Guillain- barre- syndrome, multiple sclerosis and neurosarcoidosis.
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