Angelina Jolie diagnosis: What is Bell’s palsy?

Angelina Jolie, in a new interview, said her high-profile divorce from Brad Pitt last fall was a 'difficult time.'
Angelina Jolie, in a new interview, said her high-profile divorce from Brad Pitt last fall was a 'difficult time.'

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Angelina Jolie usually makes headlines for stunning red carpet appearance and critically-acclaimed film performances. But the star has recently been making the news for her public divorce from Brad Pitt, and now she's opening up about her health.

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In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actress revealed that she had been recently diagnosed with Bell's palsy, a rare neurological condition. Facial nerve damage caused the condition, which has led to the left side of her face drooping.

"I can't tell if it's menopause, or if it's just been the year I've had," she said. "I actually feel more of a woman, because I feel like I'm being smart about my choices, and I'm putting my family first, and I'm in charge of my life and my health. I think that's what makes a woman complete."

Unfamiliar with Jolie’s condition?

Take a look at the quick facts below.

What is it?

It is a condition that causes one side of your face to be weak or paralyzed. It only affects one side at a time, but the affected side will droop or become stiff.

It’s often confused with the effects of a stroke, but a stroke will also cause muscle weakness in other parts of the body.

What’s the cause?

It is caused by damage or trauma to the seventh cranial nerve also known as the facial nerve. When the nerve, which has to pass through a very small area in the skull, is damaged it swells, causing the nerve to push up against the skull.

People with diabetes or viral infections tend to get Bell’s palsy, but it can happen to anyone.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary, but most patients experience trouble closing their eyes or blinking, excessive tears, drooling, difficulty chewing and tasting foods, twitching and pain or numbness behind the ear.

How do you treat it?

There is no medication to stop it. However, if doctors believe the condition was triggered by a virus, she may prescribe an antiviral medication.

Doctor may also suggest massaging the face but to take extra care of the eye affected.

People with the condition start to feel better in a few weeks and make full recoveries within three months.

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