Friday, February 27, 2004

Bell's Palsy

On the 2nd day of our trip in Langkawi, Adik (my housemate) complained that the right side of her face felt a bit numb and sensed something wrong with her right eye. My best friend shared with us her experience on the related matter. The only different is that, hers was a bit painful and her smile became asymmetrical. Her face was back to normal in few days time after a doctor gave her an injection and some medication. I told Adik it probably was nothing, maybe because of too much laugh and it will be okay. I was praying for that. It turned out that she was still having the numb for the next 2 days.

On the 4th day, i noticed that her smile became asymmetrical and she unable to close her right eye completely. That night, in my fear of the condition becoming worse, i had to force her to see a doctor as she insisted to go the very next day. True enough, she is having a condition called Bell's Palsy. That night was the first time i heard of the term and i assume many of us have not heard of it as well. As instructed, we went to HUKM for further check-up. Luckily the doctor said it was nothing serious and gave her some medication. She, however, have to undergo facial physiotherapy and nerves test.

What is Bell's Patsy

It is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the seventh cranial nerve, also known as the facial nerve, which results in weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. The paralysis causes distortion of facial features and interferes with normal functions, such as closing the eye and eating.

Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms are facial weakness or paralysis, a dry eye or mouth, and problems tasting. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of facial nerve damage and varies from mild weakness to complete paralysis. Bell’s palsy usually affects both the upper and lower parts on one side of the face. Both sides of the face are affected in less than 1% of cases.
Symptoms usually come on suddenly, often following recovery from a recent upper respiratory infection or other virus. Several hours before the onset of facial weakness, many people experience pain behind the ear or in the back of the head. In addition to paralysis, other symptoms include:
Dry mouth
Facial twitching
Hypersensitivity to sound
Inability to blink or close the eye, tearing, and dry eyes
Impaired sense of taste
Impaired speaking

Bell's palsy is self-limiting. Symptoms do not spread beyond the face and do not worsen once they "peak." Between 60% and 80% of patients experience complete recovery within a short time, whether or not they receive treatment. Others are left with varying degrees of facial disfigurement, paralysis, or muscle spasms.
Recovery time varies from a few days to a few months, depending on the amount of damage to the facial nerve. Approximately 7% of patients experience a recurrence.

Source : Neurology Channel
For more information go to Bell's Palsy

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