On 10 June, Justin Bieber was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which makes half his face paralyzed. Varicella zoster virus, responsible for adult shingles, causes this neurological condition.
Justin Bieber, the famous pop singer, can’t move half his face. In a recent video, the singer said he couldn’t smile, let alone blink. He is taking a break from singing as this syndrome will take some time to heal.
Ramsay hunt syndrome is a rare but non-life threatening neurological condition. Out of 100,000, 5 to 10 people will develop this syndrome. Both males and females can get infected with this neurological condition, particularly at old age.
Varicella zoster virus, known for chickenpox in children and shingles in adults, is responsible for ramsay hunt syndrome causes. You can have the virus inside your body dormant for a lifetime. And the virus can reawaken a long after your recovery from shingles or chickenpox.
Partial face paralysis and painful blistering rashes are the main symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Patients may face changes in their hearing pattern as the rashes develop inside the ear. Unless the painful ear rashes, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome symptoms are similar to Bell’s palsy, which also causes facial paralysis.
Facial nerves go through bony and narrow canals of the skull. Any inflammation of those nerves will pressure these nerves and impact their effectiveness.
The varicella zoster virus causes the inflammation of facial nerves. Swell nerves make it challenging to move facial muscles that control the eye, ear, nose, and mouth. According to Dr. Anna Wald from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Patients with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome can also face the following minor symptoms:
- Ringing in ears (Tinnitus)
- Change in taste
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
- Ear pain
Long-term outcomes of the syndrome are severe if untreated. Although hearing loss and facial paralysis are temporary, they can become permanent if untreated. Lack of eyelid movements will impact the cornea, which can cause eye pain and blurry vision. Shingle itself can develop postherpetic neuralgia when the virus damages the nerve fibers.
Officially known as herpes zoster oticus, the syndrome takes some time to diagnose correctly. However, most people get a full recovery from it with proper medication. Infectious diseases professor at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Micheal Ison, said the recovery time could vary from weeks to months depending on the age and health condition of the patient.
Doctors usually recommend anti-viral medication for ramsay hunt syndrome treatment. Steroids are another way of treating this neurological condition. Nevertheless, physical therapy is not required as the state heals by itself.