Although Bell’s palsy can occur at any age, the condition is more common among people between ages 16 and 60.(1)
In most cases, Bell’s palsy is temporary and symptoms usually go away after a few weeks.(1)
Is Bell’s Palsy A Serious Condition?
Bell’s palsy is the name given to the paralysis arising from the affected seventh cranial nerve. It is named after the scientist who has invented the condition. In most cases, this condition is unilateral but sometimes it can be bilateral also. There can be a variety of causes that can produce similar symptoms but most of the cases are idiopathic in causation.
Although it is a temporary condition and gets resolved within a few weeks to a few months it can also be a serious condition because it has the potential to cause a permanent disfigurement of the face. Once there is no improvement in the symptoms and paralysis stays without treatment then it is very difficult to manage the case and reverse the condition. The treatment of this condition should be done as soon as possible without any delay because time is an important factor. The nervous tissue is known to survive the hypoxia for the longest period but once it gets damaged then it would not be able to regenerate. Then the impulse activity to the facial muscles will not get restored with any treatment.(2)
Can Bell’s Palsy Be Reversed?
Bell’s palsy is the condition in which there is paralysis of facial muscles because the seventh cranial nerve gets affected. It can occur both unilaterally as well as bilaterally depending upon the fact that only one facial nerve is involved or both sides are involved. If such a condition arises, then the patient should reach for specialist advice as soon as possible. If the patient comes soon enough then there is a possibility that treatment of Bell’s palsy will be successful and will not lead to permanent disability. The treatment plan is devised in the form of medical treatment and physiotherapy. Medical treatment plays an important role in the initial part where is physiotherapy is a long-term solution for the patient to prevent disability and disfigurement. Prednisolone is the drug of choice given to all the patients of Bell’s palsy.
The treatment regimen consists of dosage of 60 milligrams once a day for 5 days followed by a reduction in dosage by 10 mg for each day for next 5 days that is 50 mg on 6th day, 40 mg on 7th day, 30 mg on 8th day, 20 mg on 9th day, 10 mg on 10th day.(3)
Physiotherapy of facial muscles is very much necessary and should be started as soon as possible so that the damage can be minimized. It is also the mainstay of treatment for Bell’s palsy and may take 5 to 6 months to completely cure the symptoms. High chances of a reversal of the condition are possible if the medical treatment, as well as physiotherapy, is started as soon as possible.
It must be understood that although Bell’s palsy is a temporary and reversible condition in most of the cases it can become dangerous also in few cases with a very poor prognosis. It can lead to permanent damage to the facial nerve and loss of its functions leading to irreversible damage to the facial movements conducted by this nerve.
One should seek a doctor’s advice as soon as any of the symptoms about Bell’s palsy are encountered by the patient. Unnecessary delay will only deteriorate the prognosis and lead to loss of precious time which is important for decompression of this nerve and prevent the nerve damage.
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