Prevalence of concurrent diabetes mellitus and idiopathic facial paralysis (Bell's palsy)

Diabetes. 1975 May;24(5):449-51. doi: 10.2337/diab.24.5.449.


Diabetes mellitus was present in 11.4 per cent of 684 patients with Bell's palsy, in 28.4 per cent of the sixty-seven with recurrent or bilateral palsy, and in 16.8 percent of the 440 with palsy who were thirty years or older. Diabetes was present in only 3.8 per cent of 27,399 persons thirty years or older who had never had Bell's palsy and who underwent multiphasic health testing. These figures clearly indicate that diabetes is more common among patients with Bell's palsy than among persons who have never had that disease; and that the risk of Bell's palsy is increased in patients with diabetes. The diabetic patient is more prone than the non-diabetic person to nerve degeneration, and this tendency to nerve degeneration is not age-related. Although 10 per cent of our patients with Bell's palsy and known diabetes were younger than thirty-nine years, we now advise screening for blood sugar elevation only for patients who are forty years or older, or who have recurrent or bilateral facial paralysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Facial Paralysis / complications*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiphasic Screening
  • Sex Factors


  • Blood Glucose