After Justin Bieber announced he's taking a break from performing due to suffering paralysis on one side of his face, many have been left asking - what is this rare disease?
In a video posted to Instagram, Bieber said he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one ear, according to Mayo Clinic.
In some cases, like for Bieber, the disease can cause facial paralysis, as well as hearing loss in the impacted ear.
Mayo Clinic noted that Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. After a person's chickenpox infection heals, the virus continues to live in the nerves.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
Years later, the virus could reactivate, impacting the facial nerves.
According to Mount Sinai, symptoms include:
- Severe pain in the ear
- Painful rash on the eardrum, ear canal, earlobe, tongue and roof of the mouth on the side with the affected nerve
- Hearing loss on one side
- Sensation of things spinning or vertigo
- Weakness on one side of the face that causes difficulty closing one eye, eating (food falls out of the weak corner of the mouth), making expressions and making fine movements of the face, as well as facial droop and paralysis on one side of the face
If treated immediately, risks associated with the syndrome can be reduced. Otherwise, complications include permanent facial muscle weakness and deafness.
In Bieber's video, the singer explained that he had to cancel his upcoming shows due to facial paralysis from the disease.
"It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis," he said. "As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can't smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move."
For those who were previously frustrated by Bieber canceling his upcoming shows, the singer explained that he's physically unable to perform on stage at this point. Instead, doctors have recommended the 28-year-old get some rest.
"This is pretty serious as you can see," Bieber explained. "I wish this wasn't the case but obviously my body is telling me I have to slow down. I hope you guys understand and I'll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to 100 percent so I can do what I was born to do."
When speaking with his followers, Bieber expressed hope that he will get his face back "to where it's supposed to be." He also thanked fans for all their encouragement and support.
"I'm going to get better," Bieber promised. "I'm doing all these facial exercises to get my face back to normal and it will go back to normal. It's just time. We don't know how much time it will be but it's going to be okay. I have hope and I trust God. I trust that this is all for a reason and I'm not sure what that is right now, but in the meantime I'm going to rest."