In a rare and candid interview, Angelina Jolie revealed she struggled with Bell's palsy amid her divorce from Brad Pitt. Blaming the stress from her split, along with menopause, but a health expert is telling Life & Style exclusively that while stress is the main factor, her diagnosis is likely linked to Lyme disease.
"Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health," she told Vanity Fair. "I can’t tell if it’s menopause or if it’s just been the year I’ve had.”
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Dr. Kent Holtorf, the medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group, who has never treated the Oscar-winning actress, believes Angelina, 42, should get tested for Lyme disease, which lowers your immune system, is hard to diagnose, and can make you more susceptible to Bell's palsy. He also told Life & Style that Angelina, who is an avid traveler, is more likely to have contracted Lyme from a mosquito rather than a tick, as is often believed.
So what exactly is Bell's palsy?
Bell's palsy is the weakening of facial muscles on one side of your face and caused by a viral infection. Symptoms include facial dropping, drooling, and in some cases, a loss of taste sensation. There are reportedly fewer than 200,000 cases in the United States each year. However, it is treatable
According to Angelina, she was able to recover thanks to acupuncture. And Dr. Holtorf agrees that is one way to treat the condition, although steroids are the most common treatment route. The mother-of-six wouldn't be the first celebrity to be living with Lyme disease. Other well-known stars who have spoken out about the disease, which may result in joint pain, fatigue, and headaches, are Yolanda Hadid, Avril Lavigne, and Alec Baldwin.
"I actually feel more of a woman because I feel like I’m being smart about my choices, and I’m putting my family first, and I’m in charge of my life and my health," Angelina added. "I think that’s what makes a woman complete.”