Bell's palsy refers to a disorder which affects the nerve that controls movement of the facial muscles. This condition, described as a paralysis of the face, occurs when the nerves controlling the muscles on one side turn inflamed or swollen. Bell's palsy can occur in a person suddenly, without any prior warning. If you are suffering from Bell's Palsy:
- Your face will feel very stiff on one side
- Half of your face will seem to droop
- Your smile will be one-sided
- You may not be able to close your eye properly
- Your sense of taste changes
- The production of your saliva and tears gets affected
The symptoms of Bell's palsy usually begin to improve within a couple of weeks and disappear in about 3 to 6 months. In a majority of the cases, people recover from this disorder completely. However, a small percentage of the people suffering from this disorder may continue to experience the symptoms for as long as they live. Studies show that around 10% of the people suffer from a recurrence of the disorder, which could also affect the other side of the face.
Contrary to what many people believe, this disorder is not a result of a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a stroke. While these health conditions could lead to facial paralysis, there is no connection between them and Bell's palsy. If you do experience a sudden stiffness or weakness in one side of your face, it is important to get it checked by a doctor without any delay, in order to rule out the possibility of some of the more serious causes.
Frequently asked questions