Free «Bell's Palsy» Essay
Bell’s palsy results from the dysfunction of a facial nerve know as the crania nerve number VII. Loss of the functionality of this nerve results in the inability of the victim to control the facial muscle on that particular side of his/her face (Ahmed, 400). The victim therefore has a drooping face due to curtailed/absolute loss of control of facial muscles. The condition is the primary cause for acute facial paralysis amongst individuals. Apart from Bell’s palsy, other conditions that lead to facial paralysis include; Lyme disease, different types of brain tumors and stroke. When the diagnosis of facial paralysis is devoid of a specific cause, then the condition is categorically described as Bell’s palsy. A deductive approach is used in its differential diagnosis. The only condition that has equally similar and almost subtle symptoms is heper zoster viral infection. However, heper zoster viral infection can be diagnosed by detection of blisters in the ear as well as difficulty in hearing (Peitersen, 109).
The name of the condition stems from Charles Bell who is a Scottish anatomist who first diagniosed the condition. This anatomist described the condition as one that predominantly affects a particular nerve (mononeuroapathy). The condition can alternatively be described as a self limiting condition that entails paralysis of the facial nerve at the unilateral idiopathic scale. However, in very rare cases (about 1%), the occurrence of the condition can be unilateral.( Kasse et al, 643). The implication is that the victim experience absolute facial paralysis as a result of the condition occurring bilaterally. The prognosis entails the facial nerve swelling as a result of the inflammatory condition. The affected nerve is the one that traverses from the skull way down to the back of a narrow bone right below the ear. The compressive and tension forces generated due to limited room for the now swollen nerve are the most probable causes for the damage of the nerve, inhibition or the demise of the victim (Sullivan, 1604).
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There is no single and conclusive cause of the condition that has been positively narrowed down and identified. However, medical practitioners and researchers believe that viral infection is the primary cause of Bell’s palsy. The suggested nature of the two viral infections is as follows: a latent but persistent infection that is devoid of symptoms or the reactivation of a dormant infection within an individual’s immune system. The most probable factors that proactively contribute to reactivation include; specific environmental factors, disorders (emotional and/or mental), stress (psychical, emotional or environmental) and trauma (Roob et al, 6).
The salient feature of this disease is its advancement to a full blown stage (absolute facial paralysis) may take as little as 24 hours. One of the most frustrating effects of Bell’s palsy is that the victim loses control over the eye of the affected side. This means that an initiative has to be taken to protect the cornea of that particular eye. Since the eye is predisposed to damage, lack of proper attention and care would lead to it drying up and loss of sight in that eye. Another less perturbing effect is the uncomfortable sensation experienced by victims who wear dentures (Lockhart, 72).
Intake of corticosteroids such as Prednisone has demonstrated a mitigating effect on the condition whilst anti-viral drugs have failed to demonstrate any efficacy. For the corticosteroids (steroids) to be effective, it is recommended that they are administered at the initial stages of the condition. They would effectively lead to recovery from the condition in a space of three to nine months. Acyclovir that orally administered is an example of anti-viral drugs that have been prescribed to Bell’s palsy patients without registering any success (Hato, 950). On average, a substantial number of individuals have exhibited spontaneous recovery form the condition. They exhibit positive change and commendable improvement in a timeframe of not more than 10 days from the onset of the condition. It is imperative to appreciate that all this occurs spontaneously; devoid of any form of medication whatsoever. Other treatment approaches that have been of little success is the undocumented efficacy of acupuncture and the unnecessary surgical procedure in a bid to relieve pressure on the affected nerve (Kasse et al, 647).
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When viewed through the epidemiological lens, Bell’s palsy is of a relatively low magnitude: about 20 individuals out of 100,000 of the entire earth population are affected by the condition. It is important to appreciate the fact that the tendency to contract Bell’s palsy increases with increasing age hence adults are more vulnerable than children and teenagers. Annually, the reported cases of the occurrence of Bell’s palsy are around 40,000 individuals in the United States (He et al, 61) There are very minimal chances of the condition being hereditary. It recurrence in a family is stands at 4-14% hence it would be grossly erroneous to describe it as congenital. Such rare occurrences that attempt to point at congeniality of the condition are mere coincidences (Bender et al, 44). The only linkage to its recurrence is it affiliation to diabetes. Diabetics stand four times higher chances of contracting Bell’s palsy than any other individual. Therefore, in cases where diabetes is hereditary, such individuals are likely to experience the recurrence of Bell’s pals in the family lineage. An impediment to collection of comprehensive data concerning the condition is its nature. To many individuals, it subliminally fails to suffice the necessity to medically report its occurrence. The end result is the unrecorded incidences that leave room for speculations and estimations of its occurrence (Morris et al, 259).
There is unequivocally a lot of ground that needs to be covered on the nature of Bell’s palsy as a condition. There is no disease that can just occur arbitrarily hence scientific research is pertinent in this case. There is dire need to focus on the inexplicable manner in which the disease develops and occasionally cures itself spontaneously. This abstract nature, shallow knowledge and understanding are beyond a shadow of doubt perplexing in the medical arena. This proper research will only be achieved after substantial scientific data has been collected and analyzed. This can only occur in the event that there is sensitization of the populace on this very little known about condition that affects a handful of people. This is the key factor that will be expeditious in capturing the precise nature in of the mystic condition. According to the research covered so far, it evident that very few researchers assiduously channeled their efforts towards its treatment due to its rare occurrence. This can be exemplified by the administration of anti-viral in a bid to treat the condition. Such incidences and practices are an embarrassment to the medical fraternity. Medical practitioners and their researchers should take the initiative to streamline their research and treatment methodologies for their efforts to achieve fruition. Mere speculation, assumption and anticipation (spontaneous cure from Bell’s palsy) is what plagues the management, diagnosis and treatment of the condition.