Bell’s Palsy. Alan Ricks. What is Bell’s Palsy?. Bell's palsy is a sudden facial paralysis that usually strikes all or part of one side of the face. How it’s Caused.
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80% of cases can be traced to the common virus called herpes simplex 1, which causes cold sores. The virus infects the seventh cranial nerve, which helps control the muscles associated with facial expression. As the nerve swells up, it starts to malfunction, then causing the face to appear droopy on one side.
Men or women of all ages can suffer Bell's palsy, but statistics say that people of ages between 20 and 35 are at a slightly higher risk. Your risk of experiencing Bell's palsy is 1 in 5,000 each year. Not many people are struck by Bell's palsy more than once in their lives.
The prognosis for individuals with Bell's palsy is generally very good. The extent of nerve damage determines the extent of recovery. Recovery times vary by exactly how bad the situation. With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and most recover completely, and are back to normal function within 3 to 6 months. For some the symptoms may last longer. In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear. In rare cases, the disorder may reappear, either on the same or the opposite side of the face.
Bell's palsy is a peripheral, (affecting the peripheral rather than the central nervous system), facial paralysis that results from damage to the facial nerve. Due to paralysis of the facial nerve, symptoms can include inability to lift or close one eye, difficulty moving facial muscles on one side of the face, eye tearing, on the affected side, distortion of taste and tingling around the lip area; all of which are on the affected side.