Angelina Jolie developed a condition called Bell’s palsy in 2016the actress recently told Vanity Fair. What is Bell’s palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a form of temporary facial paralysis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). This paralysis usually affects only one side of a person’s face, so it can make the affected side of the face appear to be drooping. About 40,000 Americans get Bell’s palsy each year, says the NINDS.
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The condition is caused by damage to a facial nerve, according to the NINDS. There are two facial nerves, each of which controls the muscles on one side of the face. Which side of the face is affected depends on which nerve is affected.
Scientists are not sure what causes this nerve damage, but they generally think it is caused by a viral infection, according to the National Library of Medicine.
When the facial nerve is damaged, for example it may be swollen, inflamed or compressed, it cannot carry messages from the brain to the facial muscles as well as it normally can, which is what leads to muscle weakness, paralysis or spasms, depending on the NINDS. Also, nerve damage can cause a person’s eyelid and corner of the mouth to droop.
The facial nerve also carries signals to the lacrimal glands, the salivary glands and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear, according to the NINDS. This means that symptoms can also include drooling, excessive tearing, dry eye or mouth, and ringing in the ear.
These symptoms appear suddenly and are at their worst about 48 hours after they start, according to the National Library of Medicine.
For most people who develop Bell’s palsy, the condition is temporary, and symptoms typically begin to improve within a few weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. By six months, the symptoms should have completely disappeared.
Three out of four patients will improve without any treatment, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Doctors can prescribe certain medications, such as corticosteroids, to treat Bell’s palsy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers can help with any pain from the condition, as can applying warm compresses to the face. Doctors may also recommend physical therapy to help relax your facial muscles.
Some people try alternative medicine approaches, such as acupuncture and relaxation techniques, to treat Bell’s palsy, according to the Mayo Clinic, but there is little scientific evidence that these therapies work.
Angelina Jolie said she credits acupuncture for her recovery from the condition, according to Vanity Fair.
How did the world know that Angelina Jolie had paralysis?
Months after the high-profile divorce from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the former Hollywood golden couple has opened up to the world about what happened and their feelings. The actor first did it in an interview with GQ in which he talked about his problems with alcohol. Now, Jolie has done the same.
In an intimate interview for Vanity Fair, the actress tells how her family faces this new stage of her life and explains the process that as a woman and mother she has lived after the separation. As she has done on other occasions -when she spoke of her double mastectomy-, Jolie has opened up about the medical problems she went through during the divorce: “Sometimes we women put ourselves last in the family, until it manifests itself in health”.
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Angelina Jolie: the paralysis that deformed her face