Bell’s Palsy – Causes and Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy
Bell’s palsy is a type of paralysis of the muscles in the face that occurs due to an inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve which is the facial nerve. When this nerve gets damaged the muscles that controls one side of the face droops and does not function well. This nerve damage affects the sense of taste and tear glands. Bell’s palsy can affect anyone but rarely occurs in people under the age of 15 or over 60 years.
Causes of Bell’s palsy
The main cause for this cranial nerve damage is believed to be a virus. The different types of virus that cause Bell’s palsy includes:
- Most common cause of this disorder is herpes simplex virus that is responsible for cold sores and genital herpes.
- Herpes zoster is another viral infection that causes chickenpox and shingles which can be another factor for Bell’s palsy.
- Epstein-barr virus also can cause this disorder.
- Cytomegalovirus is another viral infection that can cause the damage of the facial nerves.
Some of the factors that makes this disorder occur more in people include:
- Pregnant women who are in their third trimester are more prone to get this disorder.
- People suffering from diabetes.
- People who suffer frequently from an upper respiratory tract infection like flu or cold.
- Genetic predisposition may be another factor for this disorder.
Signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy includes:
- Facial droop
- Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side
- Difficulty in making facial expressions
- Change in the tear secretion and saliva production
- Pain behind the ear on the affected side
- Rapid onset of mild weakness which later develops to paralysis on one side of the face
- Difficulty in smiling
- Difficult to close eye on the affected side
- Impaired taste buds
When to consult a Neurologist?
Seek immediate medical help if you experience paralysis or if you experience facial weakness or drooping. If not treated on time, it can worsen your condition.