What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, the rare facial disorder that Justin Bieber suffers from?

Justin Bieber has announced that he has been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which has rendered the right side of his face completely paralysed. What exactly is it? Is it possible to treat it? The Indian Express outlines the situation.

Justin Bieber, the pop sensation, disclosed on Friday that a viral condition had temporarily paralysed one side of his face. Bieber revealed the cause for his repeated gig cancellations by revealing that he has contracted a rare disease known as Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Bieber revealed the disease had completely paralysed the right side of his face in an Instagram video. “This eye isn’t blinking, as you can see. On this side of my face, I’m unable to smileā€¦ So this half of my face is completely paralysed,” he explained.

What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, and how does it affect you?

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a neurological illness caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, which causes inflammation of face nerves. When nerves become inflamed, they lose their ability to function, resulting in facial paralysis or palsy. What this means is that the afflicted person’s facial muscles are unable to receive the required impulses to function properly.

“The human body has 12 cranial nerves. The viral illness Ramsay Hunt Syndrome affects the 7th cranial nerve, which controls facial motions. “The nerve becomes ineffectual due to the inflammation induced by the Varicella Zoster Virus,” says Dr. (Col.) JD Mukherji, Principal Director and Head of Neurology at Max Healthcare in Saket, Delhi.

How do you know if you have Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

Painful red rash and blisters in and around the ear, as well as facial paralysis on the same side, are among the symptoms. Apart from Tinnitus or ringing sounds, patients also experience hearing loss in the affected ear. Dryness is caused by the inability to close one’s eyes.

“The eardrum, ear canal, and earlobe might all develop a rash.” Rashes can also form on the tongue and inside the mouth. Hearing loss, vertigo, or a spinning sensation are all present. It weakens one side of the face and makes it difficult to close one eye or eat because food falls off the affected side. Dr. Mukherji stated, “There is sagging of the face.”

What causes Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, and what is the virus that causes it?

Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by the Vericella Zoster Virus (VZV). This virus belongs to the herpesvirus family and can remain in the body as a latent infection, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus can lie latent in a person’s body for years before resurfacing to damage nerves. VZV can reactivate due to a weakened immune system, according to physicians. According to several research, stress is also a trigger since it suppresses the immune system. VZV may potentially be reactivated by T-cell dysfunction caused by coronavirus infection, according to certain reports.

What is the course of the disease?

The patient may initially complain of facial paralysis and trouble shutting one eye. The sickness takes two to three days to fully develop. Treatment as soon as possible after a diagnosis can hasten recovery and lessen the risk of serious nerve injury.

What is the treatment for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

Antiviral medicines, steroids, and physiotherapy are used to treat it. Dr. Mukherji claims that steroids and antiviral medicines are the cornerstones of treatment.

“Facial workouts are essential. Patients must wear eye protection. Corneal aberration can occur when one eye does not close completely. Tear drops and eye protection are required for patients. When they go out, they should wear glasses, and when they sleep at night, they should tape the eye that has been affected,” he says.

Is it communicable to have Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

Although the condition is not communicable, it can cause chickenpox in persons who have not been immunised. Patients are recommended to avoid contact with persons with poor immunity and those who have never had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated against it until the blister scabs come off.

Is it possible for people to fully recover from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

The condition can be reversed. Patients are cured in 15 to three months after beginning treatment.

“The moral of the story is that it can be treated.” It is possible to get near-complete resolution. Even hearing loss can be reversed. A small amount of facial palsy may remain. There could be a slight lag in the closing of the eye later on. “That’s a minor point,” Dr. Mukherji noted.

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