Facial paralysis is a concerning symptom that is often associated with significant acute or chronic underlying processes. Regardless of the underlying problem, any signs of paralysis should be evaluated in an emergency room.
Probably the most acutely concerning cause of facial paralysis is stroke. Typically, when a stroke occurs, it affects one side of the body. In addition to paralysis, your face might droop on the affected side. Other warning signs can be a sudden, severe headache, slurring of your speech, and stumbling around. Any symptoms that are remotely stroke-like should be considered an emergency. The faster the problem is diagnosed, the less likely it is you will suffer permanent damage. Depending on the cause of the stroke, whether it is hemorrhagic or ischemic, the doctor will try different treatments. For a hemorrhagic stroke, immediate surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding. If symptoms of an ischemic stroke are recent, such as within three hours, doctors may administer medications to dissolve the clot.
Bell's palsy occurs when inflammation affects certain facial nerves. Many of the symptoms of Bell's palsy are similar to a stroke, so a fast diagnosis is imperative to differentiate between the two conditions. With Bell's palsy, only the face is affected, which can differentiate it from a stroke, which typically affects one side of the body. People who develop Bell's palsy generally develop the condition after a prior infection. Fortunately, the condition is usually temporary and will resolve within weeks. It may take months for the problem to completely resolve, and it is also possible to have recurrent episodes, although this is rare. Steroids may be used to reduce inflammation, which can reduce symptoms quickly.
Some autoimmune diseases can cause paralysis or weakness in the face and throughout the body. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is more widely known in its ability to damage the nerves throughout the body. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerves are unable to conduct electrical signals. MS can result in any number of symptoms, such as tremors, spasms, weakness, or paralysis. Another autoimmune disease is myasthenia gravis (MG), which is a neuromuscular condition that may progress to affect many areas of the body. Although MG is mostly associated with weakness, it may also cause paralysis of the eye muscles. The weakness associated with MG may also compromise breathing because the muscles needed to aid in breathing may no longer function correctly. Autoimmune diseases are generally treated with medications to suppress the immune system. Steroids may be used to stop or reduce flare-ups of the disease.
Facial paralysis is one of several symptoms that may be associated with a serious medical condition. Recognizing the urgency of the problem is critical to receiving a prompt diagnosis and treatment.
During my first pregnancy, I spent a lot of time pushing pillows behind my back trying to find comfort. As the size of the baby grew, so did my discomfort. By the time she was born, I was more than ready to give birth. When I found out I was pregnant again, I was determined that I would not suffer through the same discomforts. I started researching ways to ease the symptoms of pregnancy, including back pain. I created this blog to help other expectant moms find remedies to deal with those symptoms that can be emotionally and physically draining.