The symptoms of Bell's palsy can vary from a mild numbness of the face to total paralysis.
The symptoms develop quickly and reach their peak within 48 hours. They include:
In most cases of Bell's palsy, the symptoms will begin to improve within two to three weeks. Most people make a full recovery within nine months.
As well as being a symptom of Bell's palsy, facial weakness or paralysis can also be a sign of a more serious condition such as a stroke .
Therefore, you should visit your nearest A&E department immediately or call 999 for an ambulance if you or someone you are with develops sudden facial paralysis so a doctor can determine the cause.
Bell's palsy is a condition that causes temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in one side of the face. It is the most common cause of facial paralysis
The symptoms of Bell's palsy can vary, from a mild numbness of the face, to total paralysis. It can also affect the eyelid and mouth, making it difficult to close and open them.
Bells palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles (facial nerve) becomes inflamed or compressed. It's not known what causes the facial nerve to become inflamed, although it's thought that a virus, possibly a herpes virus, may be responsible.
There is no specific test to diagnose Bells palsy. However, tests can be used to rule out other conditions that cause facial paralysis. It's important to see a doctor to determine the cause.
Prednisolone is recommended as the most effective treatment for Bells palsy, and it should be started within 72 hours of the symptoms appearing. Most people recover fully from Bell's palsy within nine months.
A number of complications can occur as a result of Bell's palsy, depending on the extent of nerve damage. About two in 10 people experience long-term problems resulting from Bells palsy.