Bell's palsy or facial neuritis can affect anyone. A few years ago, supermodel Natalia Vodianova faced pathology. During a press conference, one side of the girl's face was suddenly immobilized - she was urgently hospitalized with suspicion of a microstroke. It turned out - paralysis of the facial nerve, the reason was the manipulation of the dentist the day before. We discussed with an expert what else can provoke the disease, and how to treat it.
Gribanov Vasily Vyacheslavovich neurologist at the MedicCity clinic, chiropractor
Natalia Vodianova later said that temporary paralysis of the facial nerve coincided with a period of chronic stress GlobalLookPress
What causes facial nerve palsy?
Facial nerve palsy (Bell's palsy) can be caused by various predisposing factors that lead to impaired conduction of nerve impulses from the brain to the facial muscles.
These factors are:
viral infection (herpes zoster, mumps, flu, meningitis, encephalitis); diabetes; inflammation of the artery, which is responsible for the blood supply to the facial nerve; HIV infection; multiple sclerosis; traumatic brain injury; vertebral artery aneurysm; malignant hypertension; cerebral atherosclerosis; acute intoxication of the body; injection of anesthetic drugs into the lower alveolar nerve; malignant or benign tumor-like neoplasms.
Both perfectly healthy people in unfavorable conditions (hypothermia, stress, trauma, intoxication) and patients with chronic diseases can be at risk. Separately with regard to stress: in such situations, the human body is mobilized, which leads to a strengthening of the immune system, but if the stress is chronic, the body's resistance to infections decreases, and chronic diseases are exacerbated.
Natalia Vodianova got rid of the consequences of the operation
Prerequisites for the onset of neuritis
genetic predisposition in the form of a hereditarily narrow canal of the facial nerve in the temporal bone; long-term addiction to bad habits; previous ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke; pregnancy; long-term effect on the body of low temperatures; chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer.
Pay attention to symptoms
The main clinical manifestation of the disease is facial muscle weakness, which leads to specific clinical symptoms:
the inability to completely close the eyes (lagophthalmos); sounds are perceived very loudly (hyperacusis); decreased taste sensitivity; "Crocodile tears" - despite the dryness of the eyes, the patient has lacrimation, but this happens only while eating; pronounced asymmetry of the face; profuse salivation; numbness of the face; redness of the eyes; temperature rise.
Bell's palsy is often characterized by gradual development, which is why the first clinical manifestations are considered to be: the onset of pain behind the ear; smoothing of the nasolabial fold; omission of the corner of the mouth; weakness; headache attacks; hearing loss; dizziness; swelling of the face on the affected side. As the problem worsens, all other manifestations arise. Important: in winter, hypothermia in combination with predisposing factors is the main cause of the disease.
Who to contact and how to treat
You should seek help from a neurologist who will study the medical history - you need to determine what triggered the inflammatory lesion of the facial nerve; get acquainted with the patient's life history (were there any injuries, hypothermia, etc.); conduct a thorough examination - to assess the appearance of the face; interview the patient in detail.
The following instrumental procedures will help to determine the final diagnosis: CT and MRI of the brain; electrophysiological studies. Laboratory tests are rarely used in diagnostics. In the process of establishing the correct diagnosis, a pediatrician (if the patient is a child), an ophthalmologist, and an otolaryngologist also take part.
Treatment usually comes down to the use of conservative methods. The treatment standard includes the use of drugs; physiotherapy procedures; massotherapy; exercise therapy course.
In combination with drug therapy, treatment with folk remedies is carried out: heating with salt; taking a decoction of hawthorn, peony, calendula or motherwort; rubbing warm sea buckthorn oil into the affected area.
Physiotherapy is represented by warming up; paraffin therapy; acupuncture; phonophoresis with medicinal substances; the influence of high-frequency currents; magnetotherapy; ultrasound.
In situations where conservative therapy does not give positive results for 3 months, surgical intervention is necessary. In addition, the operation is indicated for congenital Bell's palsy; complete rupture of the facial nerve.
Surgical treatment is carried out by stitching the nerve; neurolysis; autotransplantation. It is advisable to carry out the operation only within the first year from the moment of establishing the correct diagnosis, since in the future irreversible atrophy of the facial muscles develops.
How to avoid relapse
The prognosis of treatment directly depends on the cause of Bell's palsy. Full recovery can be achieved in about 75% of cases. However, the outcome worsens in the absence of therapy 3 months after the appearance of the first clinical signs. The disease is prone to frequent relapses, and each subsequent renewal of unpleasant symptoms is more difficult and longer.
To reduce relapses, preventive recommendations will help:
do not overcool; treat pathologies that can trigger Bell's palsy; give up alcohol and cigarettes; take medication strictly as directed by the attending physician; regularly undergo a full preventive examination.
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