“My arm felt like numb at the beginning, fatigue, and sometimes my right leg is weak.” This is one my patient that told me about his condition. Unfortunately, he is mid 20 years old, having 1 little child, but he got stroke. CT-scan shows his brain has left brain infarct on right side. So, what is difference between Bell’s palsy and a Stroke?

Are Both Bell’s Palsy and Stroke Different?

Yes, stroke can attack anybody, including young ages. Meal pattern, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and many factors can cause it.

The patient has a differential diagnosis with Bell’s palsy. It is because he has dominant one side face drop than other stroke symptoms.

Doctor usually asks to perform CT-scan to make sure there is a brain involvement. It shows necrosis (dead) brain cells called infarct. If there is necrosis, then doctor will be sure 100% with stroke diagnosis.

While Bell’s palsy is like local disturbance on one side of the face. Why Does It Only Affect One Side? Normally we have a canal for facial nerves in our skull. The canal is fit for it. If there is something wrong with it, then it might cause Bell’s palsy.

The cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown, but it might be virus infection. And CT-scan in Bell’s palsy shows normal condition of the brain, and nothing wrong with our arm and leg movement.

For Bell’s palsy, treatment is just focus on anti-inflammatory medications, nerves vitamin, or anti-virus. Most of patient can recover well without any medication, especially children. You can read Bells Palsy in Children

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For patient with stroke, every patient need special treatment based on the affected brain part whether narrowing or burst blood vessels. If there is a death cells (infarct), the medication usually like blood anti-coagulation, neuropathic, anti-cholesterol, blood pressure, and physiotherapy at last.

For hemorrhage stoke, the bleeding of the brain does not need anti-coagulation. The patient needs to reduce high blood pressure, and neurotropic, and other medications. If the bleeding is a massive bleeding and increase intra-cranial pressure, suggested immediate surgery to reduce high pressure inside the brain cavity.

The specialization of those disease is different. Bell’s palsy only needs neurologist, and stroke needs surgeon. It is because Bell’s palsy does not need surgery.

They are Different!

table of difference between bell's palsy and a stroke

table of difference between bell’s palsy and stroke

In summary, the difference between Bell’s palsy and stroke is both their symptoms and causes. A stroke usually has paralysis below the head or face, while bell’s palsy has paralysis on one side of the face. It means that Bell’s palsy only affects your face, while stroke can target your whole body such as arm, leg, or one side of your body.

The symptoms of bell’s palsy, the patient is difficult to close their eyes, but most patients with stroke can do this things.

Now moving to their causes. Bell’s palsy causes is still unknown, but it might be caused by virus that inflames a facial nerve. Stroke is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain. It might be narrowing or burst blood vessels in the brain.

You don’t need to worry if you have Bell’s palsy because it is not generally life-threatening. You must worry about stroke because a stroke is life-threatening. So make sure you know the sign and symptoms of stroke and bell’s palsy.