Paget’s Disease

Paget’s disease occurs when the normal process of bone formation is altered leading to replacement of the old bone tissue with new delicate tissue. The normal process of bone remodeling creates a balance in the way the old bone tissues are taken up by the new ones. The bone remodeling process ensures that the normal calcium levels are maintained in the blood. However, with Paget’s disease, the bones become deformed and enlarged and often become misshapen. This disease mainly affects the legs, spine, skull, and pelvis. A person suffering from this condition has increased risk of bone fractures, pinched nerves of the spine and hearing loss.

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What causes Paget’s disease?

Bones do not stop growing even after a person has reached full height. In its normal process of growth, the bone tissue undergoes a replacement of the old tissue with new bone. When the process is disrupted, it can result to changes in the way the replacement takes place. During the initial stage of Paget’s disease, old bones wear out fast than new ones are being formed.

When the body realizes this abnormality, it triggers a speedy generation of new bone, which causes rapid remodeling, something that leads to synthesis of bone structure that is weak and soft thus causing a person to be susceptible to bone deformities, pain, and fractures. Although there is no known cause for this condition, scientists have linked a number of genes with the development of the disease. It is also believed that a viral infection within the bone cells that stays for a long time may be responsible for the onset of the condition. People of the same family relation seem to suffer from the disease than others.

Symptoms of Paget’s disease

Paget’s disease may cause no symptoms and may be detected when x rays testing are done for other diseases and conditions. Nonetheless, the disease can still cause pain, deformities and fractures. It may also lead to arthritis. The pain arising from this disease is localized meaning that it experienced in the area of the bone that is affected such as the pelvis, femur, spine, humerus, clavicle, and the skull.

Pinching of nerve endings occurs in areas where the bone enlarges, something that causes numbness and tingling sensation. In addition, legs can form bow-shaped appearance. Arthritis may occur on the knees and hips. Because of bone deformities, a patient with this disease may begin to limp and experience stiffness and pain on the knees and hips. There are other general signs that are associated with this condition including hearing loss, loss of vision, and headache when the bone of the skull is affected.

Complications associated with Paget’s disease are such as fractures that occur because the bones become brittle and delicate. During surgical repairs of the bones, a patient is likely to bleed more because of the extra blood vessels that form. When the bones become misshapen, they create more stress on joints and this could lead to osteoarthritis. Heart failure may result due to overworking of the heart as it tries to pump blood to the affected areas. In rare cases, bone cancer may occur.

Treatment of Paget’s disease

If Paget’s disease does not cause symptoms like pain, and the amount of alkaline phosphates serum is sufficient or minimally higher, it may not require treatment. However, even if there are no symptoms and the disease is active and is affecting areas considered as high risk such as the skull and the spine, then treatment may be recommended.

If a patient is experiencing pain from the condition, anti-inflammatory drugs may be administered. When bone deformities occur, supporting devices may be used such as heel lift and special footwear. Surgery may be performed if joints are damaged or when fractures occur. In areas where nerves are pinched by enlarging bones, a surgery may also be recommended.

Oral bisphosphonates medication is also used in treating this condition. Injectable calcitonin is used to treat Paget’s disease. Bisphosphonates are the most common medication used to treat this condition and even in patients who need a surgery; these medications can reduce the risks of surgery complication such as bleeding.

Surgery helps in treating fractures, replacing joints that have been damaged by arthritis and aligning deformed bones. Also surgery is performed to ease pressure that is created on nerves. Besides the treatment, there are lifestyle changes and home remedy therapies that may be needed to help patients cope with this disease. Because of the high risk of bone fracture, patients are required to refrain from activities that could lead to falling.

Fall-proofing a home may help prevent accidental falls by removing slippery floors. Eating well is also another important thing you need to focus on. Taking diets that are rich in vitamin D and calcium may help in keeping the bones healthy. Exercise is also essential to keep the bones strong and promote mobility especially in patients who have suffered arthritis associated with this Paget’s disease.

Paget’s Disease – Pictures



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