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Doctor insights on: Bells Paulsey

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What causes bell's palsy?

What causes bell's palsy?

Viral infection: Bell's palsy is one reason people develop facial paralysis. True bell's palsy is felt to be caused by a viral infection of the facial nerve leading to swelling of the nerve and damage to it caused by decreased blood flow. Steroids are very helpful in treating this. Some people incorrectly term facial paralysis "bell's palsy." this is not correct, you must exclude other causes of facial paralysis. ...Read more

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Palsy (Definition)

...is a corruption of French "paralise" from Latinized Greek "paralysis." In the old days it meant any kind of persistent weakness. To this day Parkinson's disease is also called "paralysis agitans" which is a Latin translation of Dr. Parkinson's original name for it, the "shaking palsy." We've obviously reborrowed the full form "paralysis" into English as well; today ...Read more


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What causes bell's palsy?

Probably a virus: Bell's palsy is weakness of the facial muscles. It is considered by many to be caused by a viral infection of the facial nerve - although that is not certain. It is important to rule out other causes of facial paralysis such a tumor growth or a stroke before arriving at the diagnosis of bell's palsy. Anyone with facial weakness or paralysis should have a complete medical evaluation by a specialist. ...Read more

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Can bell's palsy reoccur?

Yes but rare: Bell's palsy can recur but this is rare. Recurrent facial paralysis or weakness may be more commonly related to a tumor growth, infection or a nerve disorder. This should be carefully evaluated by a neurologist of ENT specialist. ...Read more

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How common is bell's palsy?

Not very: Bells palsy is not as uncommon as is generally believed. Worldwide statistics set the frequency at just over .02% of the population (with geographical variations). In human terms this is 1 of every 5000 people over the course of a lifetime and 40, 000 americans every year. (courtesy of the bells palsy web site). ...Read more

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How can I treat bell's palsy?

Couple of ways: Treatments for bell's palsy include ensuring protection for your eyes [make sure that they are kept moist and protected]. Sometimes physicians will prescribe steroids [to reduce possible swelling] or antivirals [if it is suspected that the bell's palsy was triggered by a virus]. If you suspect that you have bell's palsy, see your doctor to determine the right course of treatment. ...Read more

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Is bell's palsy a hereditary?

No: Bell's palsy is thought to be due to a viral infection of the facial nerve. Other causes include lyme's disease and sarcoidosis but its is not passed down from one generation to the next. That is not to say that you would not see bell's palsy in a parent and years latter in their child. Bell's palsy rarely is seen bilaterally, if so it is diagnostic of multiple scerosis. ...Read more

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How is bell's palsy diagnosed?

Exam and tests: Bell's palsy is facial weakness or paralysis that is thought to be caused by a viral infection. It is diagnosed by the medical history and on physical exam. Many times additional testing such as a cat or MRI scan will be used to rule out other causes such a a tumor growth. ...Read more

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How does bell's palsy progress?

Variable: The course of bell's palsy varies from person to person. It is thought to be due to a viral infection that causes swelling in the facial nerve and leads to weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles. This can occur over the course of hours or days. Fortunately, most people recover normal facial function but this can be permanent. ...Read more

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What are symptoms bell's palsy?

Facial weakness: Facial weakness of one side of the face with no other significant neurological deficits, with onset over hours to several days. ...Read more