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Ramsey Hunt: What You Should Know About Justin Bieber’s Health

Ramsey Hunt: What You Should Know About Justin Bieber’s Health

Ramsey Hunt Justin Bieber

Earlier this year, pop star Justin Bieber canceled shows on his world tour due to a rare disease called Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS) that paralyzed the left side of his face. Most of us have never heard of this disease. What is Ramsay Hunt? What causes it? And what are the symptoms? Here’s what we know about this rare illness.

What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

Facial weakness or paralysis, as well as an outer ear rash, characterize Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS), a disorder that is both very unusual and extremely serious. The facial nerve, which regulates movement on either side of the face, may be infected by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which also causes chickenpox and shingles. The infection also triggers a very painful rash in the ear. 

What are the symptoms?

Two primary symptoms characterize Ramsay Hunt syndrome:

  • A severe red irritation with fluid-filled blisters on and around an ear.
  • The side of the face near the affected ear also has weakness or paralysis.

Rash and facial paralysis often occur simultaneously. Sometimes one might happen before the other. Sometimes the rash doesn’t show up at all.

If you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome, you could also experience:

  • Ear ache
  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Having trouble shutting one eye
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of one’s sense of taste
  • Dry mouth and eyes

How do you get it?

Herpes zoster virus, which might have caused chickenpox in childhood, reactivates to create herpes zoster (RHS). This virus causes the painful rash known as shingles in adults. Elderly adults are more likely to be affected than children. The sensory nerve that feeds the face and the nerve that regulates facial movement are potential targets for this persistent virus. 

Tests and Exams

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is diagnosed when a doctor notices facial weakness and a blister-like rash. Some examples of possible diagnostic procedures are as follows:

  • Antibody detection of varicella-zoster virus in the blood
  • The use of electrodes to measure muscle activity 
  • Treatment: a lumbar puncture (in rare cases)
  • Head MRI scanner
  • Transmission of impulses via nerve fibers 
  • Varicella-zoster virus skin testing


Treatment usually starts with steroids to reduce inflammation and may be combined with antiviral drugs. Some provides will prescribe pain medications if the discomfort remains even with steroids. While you have weakness in the face, use an eye patch to avoid corneal abrasion and other eye complications if the eye does not shut fully. Some individuals use artificial tears throughout the day and a specific lubricant before bed to keep the eyes from drying out.

If the nerve damage is minor, you should recover fully in a few weeks. You may not be completely well after a few months if the injury is serious. If doctors initiate therapy within three days after the onset of symptoms, the patient has a greater chance of making a full recovery. Within this window, the success rate for patients receiving therapy is high. The likelihood of a full recovery decreases if therapy is postponed for more than three days. Complete recoveries are more common in children than in adults.


Among the possible Ramsay Hunt syndrome complications are:

Permanent hearing loss and facial paralysis. Impaired hearing and facial paralysis are common symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome; however, they usually resolve independently. Although in some cases, it may become permanent.

Eye damage. The facial paralysis produced by Ramsay Hunt syndrome may make it difficult for you to shut your eyelid. The protective cornea of the eye may be injured in this way. This damage may cause eye discomfort and impaired vision.

Postherpetic neuralgia. This painful syndrome develops when a shingles infection damages nerve fibers. The impulses provided by these nerve fibers become jumbled and amplified, producing pain that may continue even when other signs and symptoms of RHS  have disappeared.

How much do we know about Justin Bieber’s Ramsey Hunt?

The Canadian pop artist, age 28, announced his diagnosis with Ramsay Hunt syndrome in an Instagram video. As a consequence, the right half of his face is paralyzed, he stated, forcing him to cancel his next trip. Medical professionals have been giving their opinions on Bieber’s condition. One source informed Sky News that the pop artist has a severe case of the illness, while another source told Reuters that he appeared to be getting better.

Following the singer’s announcement of his facial paralysis, his wife Hailey has provided fans with an update on his condition, telling them that “everything is okay. While making an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Hailey confirmed that her spouse is “going to be perfectly alright.”

If you think you may be suffering from shingles, an appointment with your medical provider. Early treatment reduces the length of the illness and long-term effects.

Miley Cyrus, Larry Bird, and Joe Biden Share This Common Medical Condition

Miley Cyrus, Larry Bird, and Joe Biden Share This Common Medical Condition: Afib; atrial fibrillation
Larry Bird Photo Credit Nick Antonini; Joe Biden Photo Credit Marc Nozell

What does Miley Cyrus have in common with a late former president, a former vice president and a member of the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team”? Not much as it turns out. But the former Disney star does have an irregular heart rhythm, a condition she shares with the late President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Joe Biden and Larry Bird, a former NBA standout and member of the lauded 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball team, better known as the Dream Team. 

Although Cyrus was unclear on the cause of her irregular heartbeat when she discussed the condition in her 2009 memoir Miles To Go, most speculate it’s due to atrial fibrillation, or AFib, the same condition that causes heart rhythm problems for Bush, Biden, and Bird. 

What is AFib and Who’s at Risk?

AFib is one of the most common heart conditions in the world most often characterized by an irregular heart rhythm and it affects an estimated 2.7 – 6.1 million people in the United States each year. The estimated range of people affected is wide. Many people living with AFib are unaware they have the condition because they experience little to no signs or symptoms.

 AFib is often mistaken as a mild condition due to its commonality and seemingly manageable symptoms. However, untreated AFib can lead to heart failure, stroke, blood clots, and other heat-related illnesses.

The CDC reports about 9% of people over age 65 to have AFib while just 2% of people under 65 have the condition. Although anyone is at risk for AFib, Caucasian women over 65 are more likely to have AFib than any other group. 

Signs and Symptoms

The most common sign of atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat. However, it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • General fatigue
  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Dizziness, anxiety, and shortness of breath
  • Faintness or confusion
  • Sweating

How to Treat It and Reduce Your Risk

Atrial fibrillation is a medical condition in itself, but it’s also often a sign of an underlying problem or illness. AFib could be the result of something as simple as consuming too much caffeine or as serious as a condition like high blood pressure or another more serious heart problem. Successful treatment of AFib begins with a proper diagnosis. To get this diagnosis, patients may undergo in-depth exams and a series of tests such as an echocardiogram.

In many cases, AFib can be treated with certain lifestyle changes such as saying no to a second cup of coffee in the mornings if your AFib is related to too much caffeine consumption. In other cases, treating the underlying condition stops AFib symptoms. 

The best way to reduce your risk of AFib is to visit your medical provider regularly for checkups and to contact them at the first symptoms of AFib. All cases of AFib have the potential to become serious which is why an early diagnosis is essential.

Are you concerned about your risk of developing AFib? Mantachie Rural Health Care can help ease your concerns and begin the diagnosis process. Contact us today to request an appointment. 

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