Justin Bieber, the Canadian singer-songwriter, recently revealed that he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS).
The 28-year-old music star also disclosed that since the diagnosis, he has been experiencing facial paralysis.
Bieber added that his health condition informed his decision to postpone some shows from his Justice world tour which started in February.
The singer’s revelation has left a huge number of his fans worried over his wellness.
TheCable Lifestyle examines what to know about the condition Bieber is battling.
What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS)?
RHS is a rare disorder that causes facial weakness or paralysis, and a rash on the outer ear.
The disease is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV) — the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults.
The virus has the ability of reactivating itself after remaining dormant for years in the body.
Symptoms of RHS usually depend on individuals. However, the common symptoms include facial paralysis and and a rash affecting the ear.
When RHS occurs, facial muscles may become either weak or stiff, thereby making it impossible for those affected to smile, wrinkle the forehead or close their eye on the affected side.
Similarly, those diagnosed with RHS may experience slurred speech.
RHS patients may also experience the following symptoms:
- Ear pain
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty closing one eye
- A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
- A change in taste perception or loss of taste
- Dry mouth and eyes
Diagnosis and treatment
Detecting RHS early is key to treating it in individuals. This prevents long-term complications such as permanent facial muscle weakness, eye damage, and deafness.
Late diagnosis of RHS may also cause postherpetic neuralgia — which occurs when a shingles infection damages nerve fibers.
According to National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD), “the treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome commonly involves antiviral medications, like acyclovir or famciclovir, in conjunction with corticosteroids, like prednisone.”
While antiviral therapy is considered effective to treating RHS, NORD says “some degree of facial paralysis and hearing loss may become permanent in some cases.”
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