Bell’s palsy i.e. facial palsy is a severe type of facial muscle weakness that takes place on a particular side of a person’s face. The problem takes place from swelling in the nerve responsible to control the facial muscles.(1)
Sudden weakness at one side of the face is a common symptom of facial palsy. However, the problem has some additional symptoms, like drooling and drooping of the mouth, the inability of closing eyes causing dryness, and excessive tearing in a particular eye. Patients of facial palsy also experience altered taste, abnormal sensation or facial pain, and intolerance to loud noise.(2)
There are many risk factors related to facial palsy, which are pregnancy, diabetes, and infection in the upper respiratory tract.(3)
Will My Face Go Back To Normal After Bell’s Palsy?
We know that the condition of Bell’s palsy is not permanent. Because of this, a patient will easily get back his or her normal shape of the face after recovering from the disease. In most of the cases, recovery from facial palsy or Bell’s palsy starts from only 2weeks to 6months from the symptoms of the problem onset. Accordingly, most of the people who suffered from Bell’s palsy disease recover their complete facial strength as well as facial expression.(4)
Researchers have proved that Bell’s palsy has a relatively high spontaneous recovery rate and patients usually recover completely without requiring any treatment. On the other side, a severe form of nerve damage takes place only in patients, who are more than 60years age, experience severe onset pain, complete facial paralysis instead of partial paralysis at the onset, had any type of existing health condition, like high blood pressure and diabetes. Along with this, recovery is hard or almost impossible if it does not begin even after a period of 6weeks.(5)
Does Bell’s Palsy Affect Your Immune System?
Bell’s palsy does not affect the immune system of the affected individual directly. However, in some cases, facial palsy leads to long-term effects and complications, which make the overall immune system of an individual weak.
About 30percent of total patients have long-term symptoms related to Bell’s palsy followed by paralysis. On the other side, 5percent of the patients remain left with a high level of sequelae. The sequelae of facial palsy consist of the following-
- Incomplete sensory regeneration
- Incomplete motor regeneration
- Re-innervations of the patient’s facial nerve in an aberrant way(6)
Incomplete motor regeneration is one of the biggest long-term complications. We know that the largest part of one’s facial nerve contains various efferent fibers to achieve facial muscle stimulation and formation of various facial expressions. Super regeneration in the respective part of one’s nerve causes permanent paralysis of the face or severe muscular damages on the respective face’s side. Incomplete motor regeneration thus manifests inadequate functioning of the mouth, nasal obstruction, and excessive tearing i.e. epiphora.
Incomplete sensory regeneration takes place because of Bell’s palsy. Loss of taste or deterioration i.e. ageusia or dysgeusia respectively may take place after the chorda tympani’s partial regeneration. This refers to an important facial nerve branch, which carries the taste-related details from the individual’s anterior area of the tongue. If Bell’s palsy affects other afferent brands, sensation or change to regular stimuli may take place. Doctors refer to this condition as dysesthesia, as it seems the involvement of various other cranial, glossopharyngeal or trigeminal nerves.
The latest studies revealed that the condition of Bell’s palsy increases the risk related to non-hemorrhagic stroke. The specific finding has revealed an increase in risk related to stroke in patients suffering from HSV-1. The pathogen remained in question has even implacable in vasculopathy, inflammation, and atherosclerosis present within the cerebral blood vessels. Based on each of the mentioned facts, doctors need a multi-specialist approach to deal with different types of complications, which take place because of Bell’s palsy.(7)
Most of the Bell’s palsy patients recover easily, because of which the face gets back to its normal shape in the upcoming months. On the other side, facial palsy or Bell’s palsy does not affect the immune system directly. However, it causes various complications and long-term effects, which affect the overall immune system of the affected person.