Drooping Face – Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment of Bells Palsy
July 22, 2019
Dr Sylvia Kama-Kieghe writes about a very common cause of facial weakness, the ‘drooping face’ – read about Bell’s Palsy symptoms, diagnosis and treatment below:
Bell’s palsy is
When the face is weak certain changes happen – for example, the eye and mouth do not ‘work’ as usual – which tends to be among the first problems people observe when this condition develops.
The condition can develop quite suddenly – as happened in our fictional story about a young man, Jim’s Bells Palsy story.
It is not very common in children, though, and it affects both men and women of different ages.
Though the actual cause is generally unknown, we suspect it may be associated with a recent viral illness that may have gone unnoticed.
Scientific studies suggest that it seems more common in people with Diabetes Mellitus – for reasons that are not very clear at present.
Bell’s Palsy is thought to happen due to damage to one of the ‘big nerves’ arising from the brain known as Cranial nerves.
There are 12 of these cranial nerves on each side of the head.
In Bell’s palsy, it is damage to seventh cranial nerve – also known as the Facial nerve – is responsible for the symptoms.
The weakness in the face may progress for 1-2 days after which things slowly start to improve.
Most people start to get better after 6 weeks – in others, it may take up to 12 weeks to completely return to normal.
Rarely a small number of people are left with some changes as a result of developing Bell’s Palsy.
Bell’s palsy is not the same as Stroke.
It is also not:
There are no specific tests that can confirm the condition, but in some instances where there is an unusual presentation, tests like brain x-rays or scans may be required.
Conditions that may mimic Bell’s Palsy include headaches like Migraine, Stroke or some other neurological conditions.
Doctors will usually prescribe high-dose steroids to be taken over a number of days to treat Bell’sPalsy.
The purpose is to reduce the effect of the injury to the Facial nerve like swelling.
Even though we suspect the involvement of viral infections, antiviral medications have not been shown to be of any benefit and so they are not used.
Other medicines that will be of benefit are eye lubricants to
The eye can be at serious risk of injury because of the weakness of the eye muscle.
This means the eyelids cannot close properly and expose the eyeball to foreign materials or irritation.
The following measures will be useful:
Eye complications – if there is severe eye pain or changes to the vision, an urgent assessment by an eye specialist is required.
Prompt assessment is required if weakness in the face or other aspects of the body occur.
People are encouraged to seek the advice of a competent medical practitioner to be appropriately diagnosed and treated.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practicing Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
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