Bell's Palsy

What Causes Bell's Palsy?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of Bell's palsy we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow Bell's palsy symptoms to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind Bell's palsy consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to Bell's palsy symptoms.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Stroke Risk*
  • Lyme Disease
  • Herpes Simplex Type I
* symptoms can be very similar

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
having had strokes
recurring depression
Lyme disease
unexplained fevers that hit hard
peripheral vision loss
migrating arthritis
numb/burning/tingling extremities
incoherent speech
elevated lymphocyte count
much reduced sense of taste
rapid decline in speaking ability
occasional 'chills'
... and more than 10 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of Bell's palsy symptoms:
Cause Probability Status
Lyme Disease 94% Confirm
Herpes Simplex Type I 16% Unlikely
Stroke Risk** 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
** Symptoms can be very similar

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Nervous System Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about Bell's palsy:
Do you suffer from Bell's Palsy (facial muscle droop - one-sided facial paralysis)?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ I think I might have it
→ Yes, slightly
→ Yes, significantly
→ Yes, I am severely affected
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either possible Bell's palsy or Bell's palsy, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Lyme Disease

Bell's Palsy has been known to be both an early and late symptom of Lyme Disease.


A facial paralysis that has resulted from a stroke is sometimes misdiagnosed as Bell's palsy.

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