Difference Between Bell’s Palsy and Facial Paralysis

In this article, we help you to understand the difference between Bell’s palsy and facial paralysis. Read on to know more about this and seek timely medical attention if you suffer from any of these conditions. Delay in treatment can lead to long-term complications, so be attentive when it comes to your health.

There are a majority of people who are diagnosed with conditions such as Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis. Still, there is a lack of awareness regarding these conditions. Here, we clear all your misconceptions regarding both conditions.


Facial Paralysis VS Bell’s Palsy

Facial paralysis happens when one will be unable to move the muscles of the face on one or both sides. It occurs due to nerve damage that is seen because of congenital (present at birth) conditions, trauma, or diseases, such as stroke, brain tumor, or Bell’s palsy. It causes facial asymetry. This problem tends to impact one or both sides of the face, and problems with speaking, blinking, swallowing saliva, eating, or communicating via natural facial expressions.  

One with Bell’s palsy will notice a sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face. The weakness can be temporary and improves over weeks. The weakness makes half of one’s face appear to droop. Smiles are one-sided, and even the eye gets affected. This condition can happen due to inflammation of the facial nerve likely related to the reactivation of a virus known to cause cold sores (Herpes simplex virus). This condition can strike at any age. The symptoms of this condition are rapid onset of mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of your face, facial droop, drooling, increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side, headache, and loss of taste. Hence, there can be trouble in determining the line of treatment.

Patients with Bell’s palsy experience facial nerve swelling. This prevents the nerve from sending correct signals to the brain and facial muscles, causing paralysis. Bell’s palsy occurs quickly, with symptoms and paralysis setting in as soon as 48 hours after onset. People suffering from Bell’s palsy have a relatively good prognosis, and chances of recovery.

The causes of facial paralysis are easy to identify like tumors or nerve damage. Bell’s palsy can be seen without any reason. Facial paralysis can be permanent and Bell’s palsy is temporary.  Bell’s palsy patients can regain facial function without surgical treatment and there is no permanent damage.

CT scan and  MRI can be done in case of facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy symptoms. These tests identify the root cause of a patient’s symptoms. And, electromyography or electroneurography (ENoG) may be needed for those patients dealing with severe symptoms of facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy.

The last word: A timely diagnosis and treatment of these conditions can give successful results and improve one’s quality of life. 

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