Many people experience facial paralysis. The muscles in the face may sag or become too weak to maintain tension. Either side of the face can be affected by paralysis, and issues such as dry mouth, lack of tears, and loss of taste or hearing can accompany the primary symptom. There are many causes and it may come on suddenly or develop slowly. In some cases, symptoms are preceded by pain that originates in the ear.
Many disorders, disease, and conditions can lead to facial paralysis. A nerve travels from the brainstem through the Fallopian canal in the skull, below the ear, and then to the muscles on either side of the face. If this nerve is or damaged or swollen, facial paralysis can occur. It can also be caused by brain damage. The most common cause is Bell’s palsy, which affects 40,000 Americans each year. Bell’s palsy can appear in otherwise healthy individuals that may have undergone facial trauma.
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