What is Bell’s Palsy?

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Bell’s palsy is a temporary, or less commonly permanent, dysfunction of the the 7th cranial nerve. The cause is often unknown, but suspected to be viral. Bell’s palsy causes facial muscles to weaken or become paralyzed. As with any injury, healing often follows, however, recovery may be incomplete. The elderly are more likely to become afflicted by this condition but children can present with it as well. The younger the person, the more likely they are to fully recover. Diabetics are 4 times more susceptible of developing Bell’s palsy than the general population. There is also an increased risk during the last trimester of pregnancy. The odds of facial paralysis are also more likely in those that have compromised immune systems. Bell’s palsy can occur on either side of the face, and rarely involves both sides of the face. Bell’s palsy should not cause any other body parts to become paralyzed, weak or numb. The symptoms of Bell’s palsy may progress very quickly. One may simply wake up to find they have Bell’s palsy, or have symptoms such as a dry eye or tingling around their lips that progresses to classic Bell’s palsy during the same day. Occasionally symptoms may take a few days to become completely apparent. Bell’s palsy is not contagious. Patients can return to work and resume normal activity whenever they feel up to it. The complete recovery rate for Bell’s palsy patients is approximately 50% in a relatively short period of time. 35% will have good recoveries in less than a year. Recovery is dependent on the severity of the initial injury. If the nerve suffered a mild trauma, recovery can be fast, taking several days to week. An “average” recovery is likely between a few weeks to months. Appearance can continue to improve after the initial recovery period.

When seeking help in managing the symptoms of Bell’s palsy in Ottawa be sure to find a physician that is skilled and experienced in customized treatment. Specifically ensure your physicians regularly treats patients with Bell’s palsy. For more information or to book your consultation, please contact us.

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