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Bell’s Palsy Risk Factors

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A lot of risk factors can lead to Bell’s palsy. These can include:


Viral infections such as mononucleosis, meningitis, mumps, chicken pox, shingles and herpes can make you highly prone to acquiring Bell’s palsy. Bacterial infections including typhoid fever, TB, syphilis, Lyme disease, and ear infections are considered risk factors for an episode of Bell’s palsy. These viral and bacterial infections can all cause swelling and inflammation of the facial nerve affected in Bell’s palsy.

Weakened Immune System

Health problems that debilitate the immune system can be risk factors for Bell’s palsy. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) for example, are associated with Bell’s palsy. Certain kinds of hepatitis, cancer and chemotherapy can also increase the chances of Bell’s palsy in the patient.

Neurological Conditions and Injury

Tumors that pressure the facial nerve or injury to your face or head can also lead to Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy can also be due to certain neurological disorders. These can include neurosarcoidosis, multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome. A stroke can also lead to Bell’s palsy although Bell’s palsy itself is not a stroke.


Pregnancy is a high risk factor for Bell’s palsy. Some pregnant women may experience Bell’s palsy in the third trimester of their pregnancy. This situation is a mystery to medical researchers. Majority of these females fully get well within six months while unfortunately for some, the condition has never resolved by itself. Half of pregnant women in one study who developed Bell’s palsy with complete facial paralysis got well to a degree they deem satisfactory. Pregnant women with Bell’s palsy are also at high risk of experiencing preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Restricted Blood Supply

Research has shown that individuals with diabetes have a quadruple chance of developing Bell’s palsy compared to other individuals. Smoking and high blood pressure are also risk factors for Bell’s palsy. These two risk factors can lead to limited blood flow to the nerves.

Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Written by Valerie

January 13th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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