Bell's palsy is a condition that causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in one side of the face. It is the most common cause of facial paralysis.
Other causes of facial paralysis include:
The symptoms of Bells palsy vary from person to person. The weakness on one side of the face can be described as either:
Bell's palsy can also affect the eyelid and mouth, making it difficult to close and open them. In rare cases, it can affect both sides of a persons face.
It's most common in people aged 15-60, but people outside this age group can also suffer from the condition. Both men and women are affected equally.
Bell's palsy is more common in pregnant women and those with diabetes and HIV and AIDS , for reasons that are not yet fully understood.
Around seven out of 10 people with Bell's palsy make a complete recovery, with or without treatment.
Most people notice an improvement in their symptoms after about two to three weeks but a complete recovery can take up to nine months. The recovery time varies from person to person and will depend on the amount of nerve damage.
Prednisolone, a type of corticosteroid, is used to reduce the swelling of the facial nerve.
Eye drops may be required to prevent problems if you are unable to close your eye. Tape may also be used to close the eye while sleeping.
Around three in 10 people with Bells palsy will continue to experience weakness in their facial muscles, and two in 10 will be left with a more serious long-term problem.
Bell's palsy may reoccur in up to 14% of people, especially if there is a family history of the condition.
Bell's palsy is a condition that causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in one side of the face. It is the most common cause of facial paralysis
The symptoms of Bell's palsy can vary, from a mild numbness of the face, to total paralysis. It can also affect the eyelid and mouth, making it difficult to close and open them.
Bells palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles (facial nerve) becomes inflamed or compressed. It's not known what causes the facial nerve to become inflamed, although it's thought that a virus, possibly a herpes virus, may be responsible.
There is no specific test to diagnose Bells palsy. However, tests can be used to rule out other conditions that cause facial paralysis. It's important to see a doctor to determine the cause.
Prednisolone is recommended as the most effective treatment for Bells palsy, and it should be started within 72 hours of the symptoms appearing. Most people recover fully from Bell's palsy within nine months.
A number of complications can occur as a result of Bell's palsy, depending on the extent of nerve damage. About two in 10 people experience long-term problems resulting from Bells palsy.