Bell’s palsy: What is it? How does it present?

pexels-photo-210901.jpegBell’s palsy is a disease condition which happens due to the involvement of the 7th cranial nerve i.e. the facial nerve. This particular nerve is useful in our facial expression (including closing the eyelids and smiling) and also to perceive taste at the anterior 2/3rd of our tongue.

Facial nerve involvement causes weakness of facial muscles. Therefore the person affected with the problem is unable to smile (due to the weakness of muscles responsible for a smile) or blow a whistle properly (due to the weakness of check muscles) or can’t shut their eyes properly as the eyelid closing muscles are also supplied by the facial nerve).

Sometimes saliva might drool from the affected side of the face and food might accumulate the corners of mouth between the jaw and cheeks, all attribute to the weakness of facial muscles. In addition to that the taste sensation of anterior 2/3rd of the tongue might be distorted or lost. As the facial nerve supplies an ear muscle called stapedius, a normal sound may be perceived louder, a phenomenon called hyperacusis.

Generally, the condition is of sudden onset and no other cause of facial weakness is not detectable.

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