By Doc Willie Ong
In an Instagram video posted on June 10, pop singer Justin Bieber revealed that he is suffering from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. This ailment prevents him from blinking or smiling on the affected side of his face, as he demonstrated in the video.
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (RHS)?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a rare and serious neurological condition.
It all begins with a varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, which causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. As patients recover, the virus becomes dormant and causes no problems.
On rare occasions, this virus can be reawakened from its dormant state. The virus can become active even decades later when the body is immunocompromised, or because of stress. The reactivated virus then infects a nerve in the head near the inner ear, producing irritation, and swelling, culminating in the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
- Extreme ear discomfort,
- A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
- Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
- Dry mouth and eyes,
- A change in taste perception or loss of taste
Additionally, Ramsay Hunt syndrome patients may experience hearing loss and vertigo. Every year, RHS affects 5 out of every 100,000 people. Anyone who has had chickenpox can potentially develop this disease. This illness can afflict persons of any age but is more common in adults over 60.
What are the available forms of Treatment for Ramsay Hunt?
There are several treatments available for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Steroids and antiviral drugs can be used in the short term. If the pain persists, painkillers can be prescribed. Eye drops can be used on the affected eye because it can get dry from the lack of blinking.
A full recovery is likely if treatment is started within three days after the first symptoms appear. If there is only a small injury to the nerve, patients can get better in a matter of weeks. On the other hand, if the nerve is badly damaged, patients may never fully recover. Massage and physical therapy can be used as part of the treatment to minimize the long-term effects of facial paralysis.
What’s the worst that could happen to Justin Bieber?
The worst possible complications of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome can include changes in facial appearance, loss of hearing, persistent pain, and changes in facial movements owing to nerve injury. Fortunately, many patients do not have any long-term consequences. But compared to Bell’s palsy, Ramsay Hunt patients are more likely to develop some long-term facial impairment. If this is the case, patients are treated with a combination of exercises for the facial muscles, using Botox for blocking nerve signals to prevent irregular facial muscle activity, and even surgery in some cases. At the end of his Instagram video, Bieber expressed hope for his recovery. He also shared that he is doing facial exercises to get his face back to normal. Lastly, he added that he didn’t know exactly when he will recover.
What’s the latest update on Justin Bieber’s condition?
On June 15, the pop star’s wife, model, Hailey Bieber appeared on Good Morning America to assure Justin’s fans, the Beliebers, that her husband is getting better and feeling better every day. She also thanked their family, friends, and fans for their outpouring of support, advice, recommendations, and good wishes. The first half of 2022 has been rough for the Bieber couple. Just last March, Hailey Bieber was admitted to the hospital after suffering from a mild stroke and having undergone surgery to close a hole in her heart. Fortunately, the model has since made a full recovery. Also on June 15, Justin Bieber offered his fans an update on his condition in an Instagram story. He writes that he is getting better each day. Furthermore, he is leaning on his Christian faith to get him through the pain and discomfort, saying that Jesus is with him.