Difference Between Bell's Palsy and Stroke

These two conditions, Bell's palsy and stroke, may have similarities in signs or symptoms especially on the face. But these are two different conditions.

Bell's palsy is caused by an injury or trauma to the facial nerve while stroke is an affectation of the brain due to inadequate or blocked blood supply to the brain cells.

Bell's palsy, also known as facial nerve paralysis, occurs when the 7th cranial nerve called the facial nerve is injured or cut. The facial nerve controls the muscles of facial expression and also transmits sensation of taste in two-thirds of the tongue (front two-thirds of the tongue).

Generally, the condition affects only one of the paired facial nerves and one side of the face. Affectation of both cranial nerves is usually rare.

Symptoms of Bell's palsy include: weakness or paralysis of facial muscles, drooping eyelid or corner of the mouth, drooling, dry eye or mouth, affectation of sense of taste, and excessive tearing of the eye. (Learn more about Bell's Palsy)

Stroke, sometimes called brain attack, occurs when there is inadequate or no blood flow to the brain. This can be caused by a clot or a break in the blood vessel causing bleeding. The brain cells, supplied by the blocked blood vessel, begin to die because they are not getting the oxygen and nutrients needed to function properly.

Symptoms of stroke include sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of one side of the body; trouble speaking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of coordination and balance. If you believe you are having stroke or someone you know is having stroke, call your local emergency hot-line immediately. Stroke is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical intervention. Don't wait for the symptoms to improve or worsen.

In conclusion, Bell's palsy occurs due to affectation of the facial nerve that results in paralysis or weakness of half of the face. It does not include paralysis of the limbs.

Stroke, on the other hand, involves the brain, which may be caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain cells by a clot; or small blood flow to the brain cells due to blood leaking out of a damaged blood vessel. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Facial paralysis may occur, but more commonly, there is weakness or paralysis on one side of the body including the upper or lower limb or both.

Related Topic: Bell's Palsy