Angelina Jolie & Bell’s Palsy: What You Should Know

By , Category : General Health

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Angelina Jolie’s had a rough few years. The Hollywood star has gone through a much-publicized divorce and a double mastectomy and she had her ovaries removed. Her most recent health struggle was revealed last week. Jolie had a bout with Bell’s palsy.

The condition is the reason the star has been out of the public eye for about a year, but it seems like she’s back to full health and the condition has been treated. Oh, and if you’re wondering what Bell’s palsy is and if you could be at risk, here’s a little rundown for you.

What Is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy is a relatively common condition that can lead to varying degrees of temporary paralysis in the face. It affects about 40 million Americans per year and was first discovered by Scottish surgeon Sir Charles Bell. The condition impacts facial nerves that control muscles along either side of the face. Bell’s palsy can lead to:

  • Trouble blinking
  • Twitching
  • Facial paralysis
  • Drooling
  • Drooping eyelid or corner of the mouth
  • Dry eye or mouth
  • Excessive tearing
  • Inability to taste

Essentially, you lose control of one side of your face.

Related Artciles:

Eye Twitching: Causes and Natural Treatments

Bell’s Palsy Treatment Options

Thankfully, unless a severe acute trauma has occurred that’s left you with permanent nerve damage, Bell’s palsy can be treated effectively in a relatively short period of time. The symptoms mentioned above can occur quickly and typically peak at about 48 hours, leading to some major facial distortion. That said, individual cases, symptoms, and severity vary greatly. With or without treatment, the condition will usually start to improve within two weeks, and complete recovery can be achieved in three to six months.

What’s interesting, however, is that doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes it. A popular theory is that it’s caused by a virus like meningitis or herpes.

Treatment generally involves steroidal anti-inflammatories or anti-viral drugs that aim to kill off the intruders. Jolie attributed her recovery to acupuncture, but there isn’t a lot of quality research to back it up. That said, there is some evidence that it works. Other therapies that may help include facial massage and physical therapy.

Tips for Managing Bell’s Palsy

If you happen to be afflicted with Bell’s palsy one day, there are a couple of things to keep in mind, particularly if it affects your eye. Keeping your eye moist and protecting it from debris is very important. This can be accomplished by using lubricating eye drops and wearing an eye patch (especially during sleep). Other than that, consult with your doctor to find out what the best treatment strategy is for your situation.

Thankfully, unless a severe acute trauma has occurred that’s left you with permanent nerve damage, Bell’s palsy can be treated effectively in a relatively short period of time. The symptoms mentioned above can occur quickly and typically peak at about 48 hours, leading to some major facial distortion. That said, individual cases, symptoms, and severity vary greatly. With or without treatment, the condition will usually start to improve within two weeks, and complete recovery can be achieved in three to six months.



Source
“Bell’s Palsy Fact Sheet,” National Institutes of Health; https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Bells-Palsy-Fact-Sheet, last accessed August 2, 2017.




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About the Author, Browse Adrian's Articles

Adrian has been working in the information publishing world since 1997. But when it comes to health information, he’s a self-admitted late bloomer. A couch potato since pre-school, Adrian was raised on TV, video games and a lifestyle that led to childhood obesity that followed him well into adulthood. But when he hit his forties, he decided enough was enough. He had a family to take care of and his days of overeating, under-exercising and inactivity were going to lead... Read Full Bio »