facial paralysis (Bell's paralysis): What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Facial paralysis; Paralysis of the face

facial paralysis: all, what you need to know

Facial palsy is a typical disorder of facial muscle control.. Op can affect any part or parts of the face, which leads to a non-functional facial expression. Facial paralysis can cause a number of physical, emotional and social problems. This includes changes in speech and eating., difficulty expressing emotions and discomfort when exposed to different temperatures.

What is facial paralysis?

Facial paralysis occurs, when the seventh cranial nerve, also known as facial nerve, damaged or abnormal. This nerve is responsible for controlling facial movements., including blinking and smiling. Damage to this nerve can lead to, that facial muscles become weak, paralyzed or loss of sensation.

Facial palsy can be both temporary, as well as permanent. In some cases, paralysis may be associated with other health conditions., such as Bell's palsy, ramsey-hunt syndrome, multiple sclerosis, stroke, tumors and injuries.

Causes of facial paralysis

Facial paralysis is almost always caused:

  • Damage or swelling of the facial nerve, transmitting signals from the brain to the muscles of the face.
  • Damage to an area of ​​the brain, which sends signals to facial muscles

In healthy people, facial palsy is often due to Bell's palsy. . This condition, in which the facial nerve becomes inflamed.

A stroke can also cause facial paralysis.. A stroke can also paralyze other muscles on one side of the body..

facial paralysis, caused by a brain tumor, usually develops slowly. Symptoms may include headaches, seizures or hearing loss.

In newborns, facial paralysis can be caused by birth trauma..

Other causes include:

  • Infection of the brain or surrounding tissues
  • Lyme Disease
  • Sarkoidoz
  • Tumor, compressing the facial nerve

Symptoms of facial paralysis

Symptoms of facial paralysis can vary depending on the cause and severity.. Common symptoms include:

  • Weakness, paralysis or loss of sensation on one side of the face.
  • Drooping of the eyelid or corner of the mouth
  • Facial inability (to frown, smile, raise eyebrows)
  • Flicker reduction
  • Drooling from one corner of the mouth
  • Changing the tone of voice
  • Pain or discomfort in the face
  • Difficulty moving your face
  • Headaches or dizziness

When to contact a healthcare professional

If you experience any of the above symptoms of facial paralysis, it is important to see a doctor. It is especially important to seek medical attention, if you are also experiencing pain or discomfort, or if symptoms develop suddenly.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

Your doctor may ask you a series of questions about your symptoms., to diagnose. Some questions may include:

  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • Do you have other symptoms?
  • Have you experienced loss of movement or sensation in other parts of your body?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with such diseases, like Bell's palsy or multiple sclerosis?
  • Have you ever had a stroke?
  • Have you had a head or neck injury?

These and other questions will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis..

Diagnosis of paralysis of the facial nerve

To diagnose, the doctor will examine your face and ask questions about your symptoms. Tests, who may be assigned, include:

  • Blood tests, including blood sugar, general blood analysis (ESR), Lyme test
  • Head CT
  • Rheotachygraphy
  • Head MRI

Your doctor may also order tests to look for signs of infection or other medical conditions..

Treatment of facial paralysis

Facial palsy treatment can help restore facial muscle movement and improve diagnosis. Treatment options vary depending on the cause and severity of facial paralysis, but may include:

  • Medicines, such as corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or antivirals, if paralysis is caused by a virus or infection
  • Physiotherapy to restore mobility and strength of facial muscles
  • Operation in some cases, facial surgery may be required to repair the facial nerve, or muscle grafts from other parts of the body to restore movement

In some cases, facial paralysis may not respond to treatment and may be permanent.. In this case, your doctor may recommend ways to improve the appearance and functionality of your face..

Home treatment for facial paralysis

If you have been diagnosed with facial paralysis, you can do a few things at home, to deal with this condition. These include:

  • Exercises. Light exercise can help strengthen facial muscles and improve appearance.. Workout examples include smiling, frown and raised eyebrows.
  • Cold/warm compresses. Applying a cold or warm compress to affected areas can help improve circulation and reduce discomfort..
  • Face massage. Gently massaging the affected areas will help maintain muscle strength and reduce stiffness..
  • Diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and proteins can help improve overall health and well-being.

Prevention of facial paralysis

There is no reliable way to prevent facial paralysis, however, taking certain precautions can reduce the risk. These include:

  • Prevention of head and neck injuries. Wear protective headgear when playing contact sports, like football or hockey, and be mindful of strikes when participating in such activities, like cycling or climbing.
  • Health maintenance. Healthy eating, physical exercise, getting enough rest and taking your medications as prescribed can help reduce your risk of infections and other illnesses, associated with facial paralysis.
  • Vaccination. Regular vaccination can reduce the risk of contracting viruses, which cause paralysis of the facial nerve.

Facial paralysis can cause a number of physical, emotional and social problems. However, with early diagnosis and proper medical care, many people can experience improvement in facial muscle movement and function.. Taking steps to prevent facial paralysis and seeking medical attention if needed, you can be sure, that you get the best care.

Used sources and literature

Mattox DE, cheers EX. Clinical disorders of the facial nerve. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 172.

Meyers SL. Acute facial paralysis. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn’s Current Therapy 2021. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:695-696.

Smith G, Shy ME. Peripheral neuropathies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 392.

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