Oh my Gosh I’m having a Stroke! You wake up one morning, and your face feels stiff and odd. When you look in a mirror, half your face appears to droop. You can only manage half a smile, your eye is dripping tears and doesn't want to close. What in the world is going on?
No silly it’s Bell’s Palsy If your muscle weakness or paralysis affects only your face, a more likely cause is Bell's palsy. Defined as temporary facial paralysis Trauma or damage to the 2 facial nerves
Who is this Bell guy? Charles Bell Well known for his studies on the nervous system and the brain In the 19 th century discovered that lesions of the 7 th cranial nerve causes facial paralysis
What nerve was that again? The 7 th cranial nerve is paired with the structure that travels through a narrow, bony canal (called the Fallopian canal) in the skull beneath the ear to the muscles on each side of the face. The nerve is mostly encased in this bony shell.
Facial Nerve Each nerve controls: Eye blinking and closing Facial expressions Smiling and frowning Tear glands Saliva glands Muscle of small bone in middle of ear called the stapes Taste sensations
S/S Varies from person to person Comes on suddenly Mild to total paralysis Weakness, twitching on one of both sides of the face Facial and eyelid droop Drooling Dryness of eye or mouth Impairment of taste Excessive tearing of eye
Other S/S Pain or discomfort in jaw and behind the ear Ringing in one or both ears Loss of taste Headache Hypersensitivity to sound Impaired speech Dizziness Difficulty eating and drinking
What Causes This? It occurs when the facial nerve is swollen, inflamed, or compressed
So what causes the damage? Mostly unknown May be caused by a viral infection Viral meningitis Herpes simplex Influenza Headaches Chronic ear infections High blood pressure Diabetes Sarcoidosis Tumors Lyme disease trauma
Who can get this? Affects 40,000 Americans each year Men and women equally affected Can occur at any age Mostly after 15 and before 60 y/o Occurs more often in people who: Are pregnant Are diabetic Have an upper respiratory infection
Diagnosed There are no specific lab tests to confirm diagnosis Will exam for upper and lower facial weakness Electromyography Confirm presence of damage and determine severity MRI and CT r/o causes of pressure on nerve
Treatment No real Treatment Symptoms usually subside Anti-inflammatory and an antiviral Prednisone and acyclovir Increases the chance of recovery Acupuncture and surgery For long term paralysis
Treatment Cont. Hard to close eye Use and eye patch Eye drops Tape eye shut when sleeping
When does it go away? Outcome is good!!! Total recovery depends on amount of damage to nerve Improvement is gradual Usually start to get better after 2 weeks of onset and most recover completely within 3 to 6 months. In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear. In rare cases, the disorder may recur, either on the same or the opposite side of the face.
That’s interesting… Famous people that have had Bell’s palsy Roseanne Barr, American actress and comedian Stevie Benton, Bassist for Texas rock band, Drowning Pool Pierce Brosnan, Irish actor and producer George Clooney, American actor, director, producer and screenwriter Alexis Denisof, Actor Graeme Garden, British comedy writer and performer, who has written about his experiences with the condition Tony Gonzalez, American NFL football player Jane Greer, actress, had when 15 y/o
The list goes on Katie Holmes, Actress Ralph Kiner, American baseball player in the 1940s and 1950s Amy Goodman, American journalist and author Curtis LeMay, was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of independent candidate George C. Wallace in 1968 Ralph Nader, American author, activist, politician Jim Ross, professional wrestling announcer for WWE RAW Rick Savage, British musician and bassist for Def Leppard Jamey Sheridan, American actor. His condition was written into the show Law and Order: Criminal Intent and his character Captain James Deakins also had Bell's palsy. Joseph C. Wilson, American diplomat Milo Ventimiglia, Actor
My sources tell me… www.bellspalsy.org.uk Bells palsy association Hcd2.bupa.com.uk En.wikipedia.org