What's Bell's Palsy? Angelina Jolie Speaks Out About Being Diagnosed With It

Updated 07/28/17
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Angelina Jolie recently gave a very telling interview with Vanity Fair, in which she talks about everything from the end of her marriage to Brad Pitt to details on her new passion project, a Netflix original about the Cambodian genocide.

In one part of the interview, she mentions that she developed a condition called Bell’s palsy last year. What is Bell’s palsy? According to Web MD, “Bell’s palsy is a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face become weak or paralyzed. It affects only one side of the face at a time, causing it to droop or become stiff on that side.” It is usually the result of some sort of trauma or inflammation to your brain’s seventh cranial nerve (also called the “facial nerve”); the exact cause of it can vary.

Jolie seems to imply her case may be stress-related or a general lack of taking care of one’s health. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” she says about it in the interview, “until it manifests itself in their own health.”

The condition affects more than 40,000 Americans a year and is usually treated with Prednisolone, a steroid that helps reduce inflammation. However, it’s interesting that Jolie personally credits acupuncture for relieving her symptoms. (Note: Western medicine says there is no proof acupuncture can help with Bell's palsy.) Jolie has been outspoken about her personal health journey in the past, from her preventative double mastectomy to ovary removal. We'll always admire her for her candor and be grateful to her for opening up the conversation around important health topics that aren’t always publicly discussed.

Click here to read her entire Vanity Fair interview.

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