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Bell's Palsy is usually a type of temporary sudden paralysis that causes weakness of the muscles of the face on one side. Rarely it can affect both sides. The facial nerve that supplies the muscles of the face is affected by the palsy. This nerve is called the facial nerve (the seventh of the twelve nerves that supply the face and neck regions). It is one of the most common problems that affects the cranial nerves and is also the most common cause of facial paralysis all over the world.


>The facial nerve as the name indicates supplies most of the face. The nerve is responsible for the expressions of the face like - smiling and frowning. It also supplies the muscles that are used to close the eyelids. This seventh cranial nerve is also responsible for taking the taste sensations from the front of the tongue to the brain.

>The nerve enters the face in front of the ear and if you place your index finger right in front of the ear, you will be able to feel the pulsations where the nerve enters the face.

>The nerve has a very complex course from the brain and as it passes through the skull bone at its base where it is closely related to the ear. It passes through a bony canal before it emerges to supply the facial muscles.

>It is felt that the complex course of the nerve is the main reason for it to be prone to injury or any viral infection that results in its swelling and compression of the nerve in the bony canal. As the infection and swelling resolve the palsy disappears.


The cause of facial paralysis remains unknown. Exposure to cold is the most common precipiatating factor of the Bell's palsy, The inflammation and swelling of the nerve; it has been suggested is due to a viral infection and there is some evidence to suggest that it maybe the cold sore virus (herpes simplex virus) that causes it.


Head injury.
Lyme disease.


>Bell's palsy is more likely to occur between 15-45 years.

>It is very rare before 15 years of age and after 60 years of age.

>It affects men and women equally.

>It is three times more likely to affect pregnant women

>Pregnant women who get affected by this condition have a bad prognosis.

>The disease affects 1 in 65 people at some point of time during their life.

>It is four times more likely to occur in diabetic individuals.

>Although there is no racial predilection, Bell's palsy appears to occur with a slightly more frequency in people of Japanese descent.


>The forehead on the affected side shows an absence of wrinkles.

>The eye does not blink thus exposing it to the risk of infections due to dryness.

>The mouth droops and sometimes saliva my run from it.

>On chewing food the food may get trapped between the gum and cheek on the affected side.

>The Palsy becomes noticeable when the patient tries to smile but the mouth on the affected side does not lift up and remains drooped.

>One is not able to blow or whistle.

>Pain Behind the Ear

>Sound: The tiny muscle in the ear may stop working and this may result in the normal sounds being heard louder than usual and sometimes these normal sound maybe unbearable for the patient
>Alter taste sensation.
> Dry or Watery Eyes.


>The clinical appearance is enough for a prompt diagnosis of Bell's Palsy. But sometimes doctors prefer to perform a facial CT scan or take x-rays so as to rule out any fracture or even tumors, which might be compressing the nerve during its course.

->Bell's Palsy should not be confused with stroke or head injury where the cause of the condition is known. Other rare cause of the seventh nerve palsy include - [Sarcoidosis and Lyme disease].


>Protecting the Eye from Dryness and Infection.
>Use of Steroids.
>Use of Anti-viral drug
>Surgery is a rare late option.



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