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:
  • Herpes Simplex Type I
  • Lyme Disease
  • Stroke Risk*
* 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 excess body fat
constant fatigue
peripheral vision loss
sleeping more than necessary
migrating arthritis
occasional 'chills'
having had strokes
recent onset hypertension
numb/burning/tingling extremities
rapid decline in speaking ability
incoherent speech
African ethnicity
... 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
Stroke Risk** 90% Confirm
Lyme Disease 16% Unlikely
Herpes Simplex Type I 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:
Herpes Simplex Type I

The cause of Bell's palsy is not clear, but most cases are thought to be caused by the herpes virus that causes cold sores.

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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