Neurological disorders such as Bell’s palsy, a type of facial paralysis, can cause a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. Learning about the symptoms and available treatment options can make living with these conditions easier.
What Is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a type of facial paralysis caused when the facial nerve becomes inflamed and stops working properly. It affects mainly one side of the face and can cause a variety of symptoms such as drooping eyelids, difficulty closing the affected eye, eyelid twitching, and loss of taste sensation. Other common symptoms include paralysis of the facial muscles on the affected side and weakness of the mouth and jaw.
What Causes Bell’s Palsy?
The exact causes of Bell’s palsy are unknown, but it is believed that viral infections can cause the facial nerve to become inflamed. Other possible causes include head trauma, strokes, Lyme disease, diabetes, and tumors.
How Is Bell’s Palsy Diagnosed and Treated?
A doctor can diagnose Bell’s palsy by examining the patient’s facial expression and the strength of their muscles. PET scans, MRI scans, and nerve conduction tests may also be used to diagnose the condition. Treatments usually involve medication to reduce inflammation, including steroids and antibiotics, as well as physiotherapy. Surgery is rarely required.
Tips for Living with Bell’s Palsy
Living with Bell’s palsy can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to make life a bit easier. These tips include:
- Be patient: Recovery from Bell’s palsy can take time, so be patient and take it one day at a time.
- Try facial exercises: Doing daily facial exercises can help to make the facial muscles stronger.
- Protect the eye: Wear an eye patch if necessary to protect the affected eye.
- Stay active: Exercise can help to improve your overall health and well-being.
- Join a support group: Talking to others with Bell’s palsy can help you to better understand the condition and how to cope with it.
If you are living with Bell’s palsy, understanding your symptoms and treatment options can help you better manage the condition. For more information and advice, speaking to a doctor or healthcare professional can be invaluable.