Justin Bieber diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome
Earlier this week, the 28-year-old Canadian popstar, announced to the world that he is suffering from a rare syndrome that causes partial facial paralysis via Instagram.
“I have this syndrome called Ramsay Hunt syndrome. As you can see this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move,” he said in an Instagram video that has garnered over seven million likes. “I wish this wasn’t the case but obviously my body is telling me I’ve got to slow down.”
What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs from the reactivation of a viral infection, according to Dr. Charles Nduka, a consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon in Brighton, England.
“Many people will have heard of chicken pox and chicken pox can cause a reactivation of the virus in the form of shingles which is a rash that will form upon the body,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “If that rash occurs near the facial nerve, it can cause a sudden onset of facial paralysis, often linked with some pain around or behind the ear.”
Ramsay Hunt syndrome can also cause hearing loss on the side of the face affected. Like Bieber, it can also cause a weakness, facial droop or paralysis on the side of the face which has been attacked by the virus.
That weakness can cause difficulty with closing one eye, making facial expressions and eating, as food can fall out of the side of the weakened mouth.
Patients with the syndrome will often notice their eye become dry and the inability to keep fluid in their mouth.
To treat the syndrome, patients are commonly treated with steroids and antiviral medication. About 75 per cent of patients with the syndrome who receive early treatment are expected to make a full recovery.
“I’m going to get better,” Bieber said. “I have hope.”