Posted On Dec 23, 2019
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Paget’s disease of bone is a chronic disorder that interferes with the body’s normal recycling process in which the old bone tissue is replaced by new bone tissue. This is known as bone remodelling. Paget’s disease causes this recycling process to shift out of balance, resulting in the formation of abnormally shaped new bones which may be weak and brittle. It usually occurs in the spine, legs, skull and pelvis. The risk of Paget’s disease increases with age and also if any family members have this disorder. Paget’s disease can result in complications like broken bones, bone pain, arthritis, deformities, fractures, hearing loss and pinched nerves in the spine.
The exact cause of Paget’s disease is yet unknown. There are two cells that are responsible for bone remodelling: Osteoclasts which absorb the old bone and Osteoblasts which make the new bone. In Paget’s disease of bone, the osteoclast cells malfunction and absorb the old bone at a faster rate than usual. Because of this, the osteoblasts try to produce new bone at a faster rate, but the new bone is weaker than normal. However, doctors have identified certain risk factors which may make a person more susceptible to this disease.
Paget’s disease usually does not cause any symptoms. Many people are unaware that they have this disease until X-rays are taken for some other reason. However, when people are affected by this condition, the most common complaint is bone pain. The bone pain of Paget’s disease depends on the affected part of the body. In Paget’s disease, since the new bone is generated faster than normal, it is not as strong as the normal bone. This can result in increased risk and occurrence of fractures. Due to the bowing of the affected bones next to the joints, arthritis can also occur.
In advanced stages of Paget’s disease, congestive heart failure may sometimes occur. If this disease occurs in several bones in the body, the osteoclasts which absorb the old bone may release sufficient quantities of bone causing an increase in calcium levels in the blood. This can lead to many other symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation and many others.
Most often, Paget’s disease is discovered when X-rays or blood tests are performed for some other reasons. If this condition is detected, doctors perform tests to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no specific treatment for this disease. Therefore, any treatment is aimed merely at relieving the symptoms and preventing future complications. Treatment measures are of two types: surgical and nonsurgical.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
In some cases, if further complications such as fractures, deformities or severe joint damage occur, surgery may be performed. Surgery can help heal the fractures, replace joints damaged by severe arthritis, realign deformed bones and reduce pressure on the nerves.
Some of the surgical procedures are:
As with many of the diseases, some simple lifestyle habits and home remedies can help reduce the risk of Paget’s disease and its associated complications. Exercising regularly can help maintain the mobility of the joints and strengthen the bones, besides regulating a host of bodily processes. A healthy diet containing adequate levels of calcium and Vitamin D which helps in absorption of calcium can also be beneficial.