Medical experts suggest that stress destabilizes the immune system and injures the nervous system which eventually causes paralysis.1
Bell’s palsy is one of the most common causes of facial nerve damage and stress is associated with this condition.2
Bell’s palsy is not triggered by a stroke, but it can cause identical symptoms. Bell’s palsy paralysis is temporary that resolves in two weeks to six months.3,4
Bell palsy is an idiopathic weakness or paralysis of the face caused by an inflammation of the facial nerve specifically the seventh cranial nerve. It can affect people of any age, most commonly those over age 65 years.
For most conditions, treatment is not required, and you may be referred to a specialist. Self-care and physical therapy can improve functions. However, when you have stress, it worsens the condition and damages your facial nerve.
Is Bell’s Palsy Caused By Stress?
Bell’s palsy can cause temporary weakness of the facial nerve when there is an inflammation, swelling, or compression on the seventh cranial nerve. The most common causes of this disease are due to viral infection. You may develop this condition after weeks of infection, but it will gradually disappear by six weeks.
The condition can occur at any age but people between the ages of 16 to 60 are more susceptible to Bell’s palsy syndrome. Medical experts suggest that stress destabilizes the immune system and injures the nervous system which eventually causes paralysis.1
Stress is key for survival however when you are over-stressed you can impair your body functions and can be dangerous. Too much stress can trigger facial paralysis even at a very young age. A study was conducted on Bell’s palsy patients whose stress levels were high. When they are stressed, some patients noticed the disfiguration of their faces. Doctors noticed that one eye was blinking a half-second slower than the other.
Problems protruded one after the other. The eye problem followed by the tingling of the tongue and lost the feeling completely. Within days, the facial nerves started to fail, and the patients were no longer able to close the eye or mouth and feel anything on the face.2
Is Bell’s Palsy A Type Of Stroke?
A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply or when blood stops flowing to any part of your brain. Most strokes occur when there is increased blood pressure and its medical name is a cerebrovascular accident.
Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel whereas Ischemic stroke caused due to clot in a blood artery that obstructs blood flow to an area of the brain. Both cases lead to lasting disability depending on the location and size of the blood clot.
However, Bell’s palsy is not triggered by a stroke, but it can cause identical symptoms. Bell’s palsy paralysis is temporary that resolves in two weeks to six months. The condition doesn’t affect the actual brain affection so there is less probability of the interruptions of the other facial nerves. When the nerves beyond the seventh cranial nerve are not affected, the condition is no longer Bell’s palsy.
Bell’s palsy doesn’t involve facial function however stroke does, so when you find signs of the face drooping, seek immediate medical attention. The doctors will perform a detailed history taking and physical examination to distinguish which patients have been seriously infected and who can be discharged safely home.3,4
- Ramakrishna, Dr Anil. “Bell’s Palsy: Beware of Stress and Cold.” Deccan Herald, DH News Service, 8 Oct. 2018, www.deccanherald.com/opinion/panorama/bell-s-palsy-beware-stress-and-696927.html.
- “Bell’s Palsy Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/bells-palsy-fact-sheet.
- Mayhew, Glen. “Differential Diagnosis: Bell’s Palsy vs. Stroke.” EMS World, 13 July 2015, www.emsworld.com/article/12092020/differential-diagnosis-bell-s-palsy-vs-stroke.
- “ER Docs Can Tell Difference Between Stroke and Bell’s Palsy.” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 9 Aug. 2013, www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=172467.
- Bell’s Palsy: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis
- How Long Does Bell’s Palsy Last & What are its Recovery Signs?