Bell’s palsy is usually a temporary condition in which the muscles on one side of the face become paralyzed due to the nerve disorders. The facial nerve comes out on each side of the skull from the brain through a small opening near the ear. The cause of this condition is still unknown.
The characteristic symptom is the flabbiness of one side of the face. Sometimes, it is impossible to close one eye, and any movement of the face, such as laughter or frown is distorted, as the muscles on the paralyzed side from the forehead to the mouth practically do not move. An attack usually occurs suddenly, often overnight, and is sometimes accompanied by ear aches or facial pain.
In the UK, Bell’s palsy affects approximaately 1 person out of 3000 per year. This condition can affect people of any age, though it seems most common among young adult men. It can also occur as a side effect of middle ear infection.
Although the condition distorts the face, it is not dangerous. Major dangers are the possibility of eye irritation or eye injury; namely, since the eye can not be closed, it is exposed to dust. If the eye is unprotected for a long time, it becomes dry and ulcers may develop.
What to do?
If you have symptoms of Bell’s palsy, contact your doctor immediately who will, after the examination, recognize the disorder.
If Bell’s palsy is diagnosed a day or two after first symptoms, a short-term therapy with corticosteroid tablets improves the chance of rapid cure. Otherwise, a treatment may take several weeks. Until he gets better, the patient may need to protect the eye and moisten it with special caps.
In most cases Bell’s palsy completely disappears even without early treatment. If facial deformation persists, which is not a common case, this physical disadvantage can be solved by surgery, which will improve face appearance.