Bell’s palsy is a neurological disease that affects the facial muscles and causes them to droop and become stiff on one side. The reason for this drooping is that the facial muscles of that side either weaken so much or that they become paralyzed because of several causes.
The exact reasons for Bell’s palsy are still unknown. The weakness in the muscles begins suddenly and then the symptoms worsen within a period of 48 hours. The facial nerves arise from the 7th and the 8th cranial nerves that originate from the spinal cord. Damage to these facial nerves causes pain and discomfort on the affected side of the face.
It can strike at any age and even during pregnancy because the mother can be very weak individually at that time. People who have diabetes, influenza, cold, or a respiratory disease have an increased risk of developing this disease however, both males and females are equally susceptible. Younger population under the age of 15 do not usually show the disease. So children have a very incidence of Bell’s palsy. It is more common between the ages of 18 and 60.
Bell’s Palsy Causes
The causes of Bell’s palsy can be multifarious. There has been only a little information regarding the causes of Bell’s palsy and all of them are relatively vague. Most of the causes point toward the conditions of stress that the body is undergoing. Any severe injuries, infections, and intoxication. Sometimes physical trauma is very hard on the body to heal, and the lack of energy in the nerves causes Bell’s palsy.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are decompensatory conditions and damage the body in the long run. Other causes include Lyme disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome and Sarcoidosis, Myasthenia Gravis, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Bell’s Palsy Symptoms
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy vary from individual to individual. The initial signs shown by a person with Bell’s palsy include disordered movement and uncontrolled facial expressions. The eyes might blink unconsciously or the jaws might drop without control. Squinting, smiling, and or closing the eyelids might become involuntary. The affected side of the face usually shows more pain than the other side. This pain extends towards the head and in the jaws and neck too.
Drooling is often observed in patients with Bell’s palsy. The saliva drooling out of the mouth is involuntary and the pain can also be experienced at the back of the ears. There can also be a change in the concentration of saliva and tears your mouth and eyes produce. Some people have also experienced a greater sensitivity towards sound in the ear of the affected side of the face.