‘Troubling rise’ in facial nerve paralysis cases among post-Covid patients
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, medical experts have been trying to determine the extent to which the pandemic causes other diseases, especially neurological disorders.
In early 2020, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York reported cases of five young patients, who had a stroke after being tested positive with Coronavirus.
Following the report, experts feared that the coronavirus could cause stroke in patients with a history of arterial disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking.
The researches suggested that the coronavirus is triggering severe neurological complications like Guillain Barre Syndrome, dementia, meningitis, encephalitis, and even mucormycosis, a rare fungal infection among patients.
Now the reports came from India stated that the COVID-19 is also causing temporary facial paralysis known as Bell’s palsy that can be described as a facial nerve disorder among the patients.
According to the details, a patient was admitted to the Zen Multispeciality Hospital at Chembur in north-east Mumbai, India, with Bell’s palsy the symptoms including one-sided paralysis of the face and had incomplete closure of eyes, difficulty in eating, dropping off the face, and other facial movements.
The doctors however treated the patient successfully with medicines and physiotherapy and was completely cured with 3 weeks of physiotherapy treatment.
There have been many patients with Facial nerve paralysis reported during the second wave of the pandemic in India who was successfully treated at Zen Multispeciality Hospital.
Dr Vinith Karanth, Consulting Physiotherapist at Zen Multispeciality Hospital said, “Bell’s palsy is the sudden weakness in the muscles on one half of the face due to inflammation to the facial nerve due to viral infection. The facial nerve controls the action of facial muscles and in Bell’s palsy, it stops sending signals to the facial muscles which lead to paralysis/ weakness of the muscles on a temporary basis and either of the sides can get affected. This viral infection can be due to impaired immunity which is commonly seen in patients post covid.”
“Since last year, there is a drastic increase in the number of Bell’s palsy cases coming to the physiotherapy department particularly patients with a history of covid-19 infection. In the last few months, around 3-4 post-Covid patients including young and old are appearing with this problem on a daily basis. Before Covid, we used to see such cases appearing very rarely 1-2 cases in a month. Even asymptomatic patients who have recovered from Covid can suffer from Bell’s palsy,” Dr Karanth said.
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