Angelina Jolie suffered from Bell’s Palsy

Angelina Jolie suffered from Bell’s Palsy

Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood celebrity is not only known for her beauty and charity work, but also for speaking about health issues that she faces. Hollywood celebrity in an interview said she suffered from Bell’s palsy a condition related to nervous system of the face.

Well, this is not the first time the actress has spoken about her health. When she tested positive for BRCA1gene she went through double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery to avoid the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. In the year 2015 she underwent another surgery to remove ovaries and fallopian tubes.  Per Vanity fair Jolie was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and Bell’s palsy.

What is Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis, resulting from damage or trauma to the facial nerves. (The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). It affects facial nerve function causing an interruption in the messages that the brain sends to facial muscle leading to paralysis and weakness of the area.

It is not an uncommon condition and can happen to anybody over 15 to 40 years old. The condition affects around one in 5,000 people a year and most commonly affects people under 60. Bell’s palsy can happen on both side of the face. The rapid onset of weakness of face can happen on lower and upper face part without any identifiable cause.

In Angelina’s case one side of her face was drooped. As per media reports she took acupuncture therapy to cure the condition and got herself cured.

What causes Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles becomes inflamed or compressed. The facial nerve passes through a narrow gap of bone near the upper jaw on its way from the brain to the face. If the facial nerve is compressed or swollen it can interfere with the signals that your brain sends to the muscles in your face. This interference can restrict the blood and oxygen supply to your nerve cells and cause the facial weakness or paralysis that is characteristic of Bell’s palsy (http://www.nhs.uk/).

Damage to nerve can happen due to trauma to the face, injury from surgery, ear infection and other types of infections.

Other infections: Syphilis, the Epstein-Barr virus – which causes glandular fever and cytomegalovirus

Viral infection is one of the main cause of Bell’s palsy; The herpes simplex virus (HSV), including either herpes type 1 (HSV-1), which causes cold sores, or herpes type 2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes. The varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles

What are symptoms?

Mild numbness total paralysis. Many people with condition think that it is a stroke.

In long-term cases, tears in eyes and eye-mouth synkinesias (in some cases, facial nerve grows back in a different way, which can lead to a winking eye when eating, smiling or laughing)

How to cure Bell’s palsy?

To restore the symmetry of the face and based on the complexity of the symptoms condition can be cured by any of the following procedures

  • Many people recover from the condition without any treatment. To avoid complications, it is better to undergo therapy. Complications depends on the extent of nerve damage. (Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a rare and progressive condition that can cause problems with balance, movement, vision, speech and swallowing). As per NHS Choices, out of ten people seven will make a complete recovery and will get back to normalcy within nine months.
  • Physiotherapy: Physiotherapist will teach facial exercises and can help to cure the condition.
  • Plastic surgery: It is another option. Surgery may not be able to help restore nerve function but can save the eye.
  • Botulinum toxin injection: BOTOX injections can be used to treat either the affected or the unaffected side of the face in some people with long-term Bell’s palsy.
  • To restore facial nerve function - Facial exercises, relaxation techniques and acupuncture may help speed up the recovery. In Angelina’s case one side of her face was drooped. As per media reports she took acupuncture therapy to cure the condition and got herself cured.

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