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Articles » NINDS Bell's Palsy Information Page: NINDS
 

NINDS Bell's Palsy Information Page: NINDS

Article title: NINDS Bell's Palsy Information Page: NINDS

Conditions: Bell's palsy


What is Bell's Palsy?
Bell's palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from damage to the 7th (facial) cranial nerve. This nerve disorder afflicts approximately 40,000 Americans each year. It can strike almost anyone at any age; however, it disproportionately attacks pregnant women and people who have diabetes, influenza, a cold, or some other upper respiratory ailment. In addition to one-sided facial paralysis with possible inability to close the eye, symptoms of Bell's palsy may include pain, tearing, drooling, hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear, and impairment of taste. Researchers in Japan identified the common cold sore virus, herpes simplex, as the likely cause of most cases of Bell's palsy.

Is there any treatment?
Recent studies (Neurology 2001 Apr 10;56(7):830-836) have shown that steroids are probably effective and that the drug acyclovir (combined with prednisone) is possibly effective in improving facial function. Other treatments are usually aimed at protecting the eye from drying at nighttime. Some physicians may prescribe a corticosteroid drug to help reduce inflammation and an analgesic to relieve pain.

What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for Bell's palsy is generally very good. With or without treatment, most patients begin to get significantly better within 2 weeks, and about 80 percent recover completely within 3 months. For some, however, the symptoms may last longer. In a few cases, the symptoms may never completely disappear.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports an extensive research program of basic studies to increase understanding of how the nervous system works. A major goal of this research is to develop methods for repairing damaged nerves and restoring full use and strength to injured areas.

 Organizations

Bell's Palsy Research Foundation
9121 East Tanque Verde
Suite 105-286
Tucson, AZ 85749
BellsPalsy@aol.com
https://www.bellspalsyresearch.com/
Tel: 877-412-5335
Fax: 954-337-7803

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 8923
(100 Route 37)
New Fairfield, CT 06812-8923
orphan@rarediseases.org
https://www.rarediseases.org/
Tel: 203-746-6518 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-746-6481

This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892


 

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