The Difference Between Bell’s Palsy and Stroke

by | Apr 12, 2024

Discover the key distinctions between Bell’s palsy and stroke, including symptoms, causes, and treatment approaches. Learn how to differentiate between these conditions for timely and effective medical intervention, ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients.

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Introduction to Bell’s Palsy and Stroke

Two conditions that are often confused are Bell’s Palsy and stroke because they have similar symptoms. Understanding these two disorders can make all the difference in how you get treatment and what to expect moving forward. Below are the differences between the two disorders and how Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore can help.


Bell’s Palsy: Overview and Symptoms

A disorder that causes temporary paralysis, Bell’s Palsy only impacts one single nerve in the face, causing the symptoms to imitate those of a stroke. This disorder is often temporary, with symptoms subsiding over several weeks and sometimes up to six months. It received its name from Sir Charles Bell, who spent ample time researching and diagnosing the condition throughout the 19th century.

The symptoms associated with Bell’s Palsy include the following:

  • Drooling
  • Face paralysis on one side
  • Excessive eye watering
  • Difficulty drinking and eating
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Jaw Pain
  • Dizziness

There isn’t any current known reason for Bell’s Palsy’s development, but it’s believed to be associated with viral infections and severe facial inflammation. This condition is diagnosed with an MRI or CT scan of the face, which looks for significant damage to facial nerves. An electromyography (EMG) test can also be performed to check the overall nerve damage.


Stroke: Overview and Symptoms

If someone suffers a stroke, they are experiencing issues with blood flow to the brain due to a blockage or bleeding that may be happening in the brain. There are two different kinds of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes need to circulate blood and oxygen to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes are due to intense blood pressure, and they must be relieved as soon as possible to stop any brain bleeds.

A stroke is a much more severe disorder, and it needs treatment right away if that’s what you’re suffering from. Some of the symptoms of a stroke include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Facial drooping or paralysis on one side
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Confusion and personality changes
  • Senses loss

A CT scan or MRI is also the go-to test to identify a stroke. Instead of looking for nerve damage in the face, doctors seek out signs of seizures, blockages, or brain bleeds that will identify a stroke. Immediate treatment will release pressure on the brain and restore blood circulation and oxygen to this area. Depending on how severe the damage was at the time of the stroke, the recovery and long-term treatments will include different types of therapy.


Key Differences Between Bell’s Palsy and Stroke

There are a few key differences between Bell’s Palsy and a stroke. The first is that a stroke is life-threatening, whereas Bell’s Palsy isn’t. It would help if you did the tests for a stroke and Bell’s Palsy to rule out the stroke first since it needs immediate treatment. Bell’s Palsy onset is usually much faster than that of a stroke, which can be concerning for that person and anyone with them at the time.

Another difference is where each affected area is. While the symptoms may be very similar, you’ll need to remember that a stroke is brain-related, while Bell’s Palsy is related to the facial nerves and not long-term. Both of these treatments can be very different, but it needs to be diagnosed correctly initially. Those who suffer from strokes will need some form of therapy to recover, while those who suffer from Bell’s Palsy may not need as much or any therapy treatment.


Red Flags and When to Seek Medical Attention

If you or someone you know hasn’t ever experienced or been diagnosed with either Bell’s Palsy or a stroke, it is recommended to receive medical attention as soon as the speech starts slurring and there are signs of facial paralysis. If they are experiencing a stroke, even a mild one, it’s vital to get the medical attention started right away to stop any potential damage. Use the FAST acronym to identify stroke signs and get medical assistance: Face-drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and then Time to contact 995.

If someone is only having issues with dizziness and eye-watering but no seizures or facial paralysis, you should still receive medical attention, but be a bit calm about it, as the chances of a stroke may not be as high as Bell’s Palsy. This is especially true if this person already had a history of Bell’s Palsy.


Do You Need More Information? 

Knowing these signs of a stroke or Bell’s Palsy and when to get medical assistance is vital. If you want more information or to schedule a consultation,  Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic and our stroke specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, will assist you with all your questions and needs. Contact us today for more information and to get your next appointment.

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Consult a Stroke Specialist in Singapore

Dr. Manish Taneja, is an expert in endovascular and image guided neurointerventional procedures of brain and spine. He has special interest in treatment of brain aneurysms, stroke and vascular malformations. Come in for a further evaluation and arrange an appointment today with our stroke specialist.


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We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. Come in for an easy consultation and further evaluation with our stroke specialist in Singapore at the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic. 

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Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.