Paget's disease of bone

From ArticleWorld


Paget’s disease of bone is a bone disease, also called “oseitis deformans”, is a condition where bone tissue is broken down and formed in a random fashion. This leads to bone pain, arthritis, enlarged and deformed bones and bones that are somewhat brittle and breakable.

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Incidence

Paget’s disease has a genetic component and can occur in multiple family members. It also may be due to a slow virus affecting the bone. Most individuals are diagnosed with the disease after the age of 40, with equality among genders. Approximately 2-8% of people can have this disease overall; however, in some countries, the incidence can be much higher depending upon the hereditary prevalence of the disease. Some families have up to 40% of its members affected.

Symptoms

Paget’s disease, when mild, may have no symptoms at all. Bone pain is the most common symptom, particularly in the hip or pelvis. Paget’s disease of the skull can result in headaches or in hearing loss. In Paget’s disease of the skull or spine, there can be secondary nerve complications. Obvious deformity of the head, femur or spine can be noted. Arthritic symptoms can occur when the joint cartilage is damaged.

Diagnosis

Those with Paget’s disease are often diagnosed by X-ray, showing a mottled appearance of bone that is thin in some areas and dense in others. The blood levels of alkaline phosphatase are elevated in this condition and a test for this can be used to determine the development of the disease in unaffected family members. In known cases of Paget’s disease, a bone scan can show areas of activity and can determine the extent of the disorder.

Prognosis

Those with Paget’s disease generally do well if the condition is caught early and treated. Less than one percent of patients with the disorder, however, can develop osteogenic sarcoma, a type of cancer of the bone. The treatment is confined to several medications called biphosphonates or calcitonin that slow the progression of the disease. The major complications of the disease are bony fractures, degenerative arthritis and bone deformities.