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Health Condition

Bell’s Palsy

About This Condition

Bell’s palsy is a disorder of the nerve that controls certain muscles of the face.

People with Bell’s palsy lose control of some or all of the muscles on one half of the face; consequently, the face looks asymmetrical. Rarely are both sides of the face affected. The cause is unknown, and the disorder usually resolves without treatment within six to twelve months.

People with diabetes or hypertension have greater-than-average risk for Bell’s palsy.1,2,3 While no research has investigated whether better control of these conditions may help prevent Bell’s palsy, people with Bell’s palsy should be checked for diabetes and hypertension, especially if the palsy occurs repeatedly or affects both sides of the face.

Symptoms

Some common symptoms of Bell’s palsy include a rapid onset of weakness, numbness, heaviness, or paralysis of one side of the face. People with Bell’s palsy may also have symptoms of pain behind the ear, inability to completely close one eye, drooling, and speech difficulties.

Other Therapies

Skin tape or an eye patch may be used to help the eye stay closed and lubricated. Difficult cases may require a surgical procedure in which the eyelids are stitched together.

References

1. Adour K, Wingerd J, Doty HE. Prevalence of concurrent diabetes mellitus and idiopathic facial paralysis (Bell's palsy). Diabetes 1975;24:449-51.

2. Yanagihara N, Hyodo M. Association of diabetes mellitus and hypertension with Bell's palsy and Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl 1988;137:5-7.

3. Brandenburg NA, Annegers JF. Incidence and risk factors for Bell's palsy in Laredo, Texas: 1974-1982. Neuroepidemiology 1993;12:313-25.

4. Savage DG, Lindenbaum J. Neurological complications of acquired cobalamin deficiency: clinical aspects. Baillieres Clin Haematol 1995;8:657-78 [review].

5. Yaqub BA, Siddique A, Sulimani R. Effects of methylcobalamin on diabetic neuropathy. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 1992;94:105-11.

6. Ide H, Fujiya S, Asanuma Y, et al. Clinical usefulness of intrathecal injection of methylcobalamin in patients with diabetic neuropathy. Clin Ther 1987;9:183-92.

7. Kuwabara S, Nakazawa R, Azuma N, et al. Intravenous methylcobalamin treatment for uremic and diabetic neuropathy in chronic hemodialysis patients. Intern Med 1999;38:472-5.

8. Yamane K, Usui T, Yamamoto T, et al. Clinical efficacy of IV plus oral mecobalamin in patients with peripheral neuropathy using vibration perception thresholds as an indicator of improvement. Curr Ther Res 1995;56:656-70 [review].

9. Mitra M, Nandi AK. Cyanocobalamin in chronic Bell's palsy. J Indian Med Assoc 1959;33:129-31.

10. Jalaludin MA. Methylcobalamin treatment of Bell's palsy. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1995;17:539-44.

11. Kobayashi H, Aoyagi M, Suzuki H, et al. The clinical effects of mecobalamin on peripheral facial palsy. Otolaryngology 1980;26:968-72.

12. Yagi N, Ishikawa Y, Fukazawa T. The effect of steroid and CH3 vitamin B12 on peripheral facial paralysis. Otologia Fukuoaka 1981;74:1613.

13. Zhang Y. Clinical experience in acupuncture treatment of facial paralysis. J Tradit Chin Med 1997;17:217-9.

14. He S, Zhang H, Liu R. Review on acupuncture treatment of peripheral facial paralysis during the past decade. J Tradit Chin Med 1995;15(1):63-7 [review].

15. Yuan H, Zhang J, Feng X, Lian Y. Observation on electromyogram changes in 93 cases of peripheral facial paralysis treated by point-through-point acupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med 1997;17:275-7.

16. Zang J. 80 cases of peripheral facial paralysis treated by acupuncture with vibrating shallow insertion. J Tradit Chin Med 1999;19:44-7.

17. Racic G, Denoble PJ, Sprem N, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen as a therapy of Bell's palsy. Undersea Hyperb Med 1997;24:35-8.

18. Biedermann HJ, Inglis J. The restoration of control in facial muscles affected by Bell's palsy. Int J Psychosom 1990;37:73-7.

19. Lobzin VS, Tsatskina ND. The adaptive biological control system with electromyographic feedback in the treatment of Bell's palsy. Zh Nevropatol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova 1989;89(5):54-7 [in Russian].

20. Ross B, Nedzelski JM, McLean JA. Efficacy of feedback training in long-standing facial nerve paresis. Laryngoscope 1991;101:744-50.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

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