Named after Sir Charles Bell, a 19th century Scottish surgeon, Bell’s palsy refers to facial paralysis caused by an irritation to the cranial nerve VII (number 7). It is this nerve that controls most of your facial muscles which include even those that control your smile, blink and wrinkle the forehead.
What causes Bell’s palsy?
The cause of Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis is not clearly known till date. It is not known till date as to why irritation occurs in the cranial nerve VII. There are many who believe that facial paralysis is caused due to extreme exposure to cold conditions though there is no evidence to suggest this. There are others who believe that facial paralysis happens due to an inflammation of the cranial nerve VII which may have been caused by a viral infection.
Recognizing the symptoms
One of the first symptoms of Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis is when you begin drooling after brushing your teeth or when you drink water. Likewise, when you notice that your mouth is not properly aligned and is slightly twisted. Some of the other symptoms include inability to whistle or blow your cheeks or have excess tearing in one eye.
Treating Facial paralysis
One of the major causes of concern in the treatment of Bell’s palsy refers to eye care. This is because the patient is unable to close one eye which can cause corneal abrasions or any other kinds of injuries. Irrespective of what kind of treatment you are taking, it is suggested that you always have a dark glass on and use eye drops to prevent the eyes from drying up. Further, it has been observed that oral steroids like prednisone are very effective in reducing the course of this disease and at the same time improve the recovery rate quite effectively. In very severe cases surgery helps in relieving the pressure on the nerve, thereby preventing permanent nerve damage.