Paget’s disease of bone and other bone diseases

Paget’s disease of bone is a condition that interferes with the body’s normal bone recycling process, old bone tissue being replaced by new tissue. Over time, bones become fragile and more susceptible to injuries. The condition attacks the bone tissue, which is living tissue that does not stop growing even after reaching full height. Human bones are in a constant process of renewal (remodeling process), discarding old tissue and replacing it with newer one. Early in the course of the disease’s onset old tissue breaks down at a faster rate than new tissue can be formed. Over time, the body responds by adjusting its remodeling process to work at faster rates, meaning that the rate at which the body produces new bone tissue is faster than normal. What results is bone tissue remaining in a softer, weaker state far longer than normal, which leads to possible fractures, bone deformities and pain.

Causes

A specific cause has yet to be identified

Potential factors determining the onset of the condition:

Genetics

Possible viral infection

Symptoms and signs

Bone pain is the most common complaint

The disease may affect only one part of the body, or it can be widespread:

Paget’s disease of bone in the pelvis may cause hip pain

Paget’s disease of bone at skull level may cause hearing loss, headaches or vision loss

If the spine is affected, nerve endings can become compressed and cause pain, tingling and numbness in arms or legs

If the legs are affected, bone weakening can lead to a state of bowleggedness (appearance of curved bones), while enlarged bones can cause joint pressure that may lead to arthritis at knee or hip level

Advice

Osteoporosis drugs (bisphosphonates) are the most common form of treatment

They may be administered orally or intravenously

Calcitonin is a naturally occurring hormone functioning in calcium regulation and bone metabolism

Long-term bisphosphonates treatment has been linked to:

Possible fissure of the thighbone

May increase the risk of osteonecrosis of the jawbone – a part of the jawbone’s tissue deteriorates and dies after tooth extractions

Calcitonin may be self-administered via injection or nasal spray

Possible side-effects: nausea, facial flushing, irritation at injection site

Surgery in order to:

Heal fractures

Replace damaged joints

Realign deformed bones

Reduce pressure on joints

MISCONCEPTIONS
  • Paget’s disease can only affect the elderly

    Pain is a natural occurrence of old age

    The disease if affected by diet

    The disease is untreatable – it is incurable, but not untreatable

    Working out only worsens pain – light exercises are beneficial for reducing pain and pressure

Statistics

People aged over 40 are the most likely to develop the disease

 

Men are more commonly affected than women

 

Paget’s disease of bone is more common in England, Scotland, Central Europe and Europe, as well as countries settled by European immigrants, while in Scandinavia and Asia it is a rare disease

 

About 1 million people in the U.S. suffer from Paget’s disease of bone (data collected in 2014)

Did you know?

Bone tissue is also called osseous tissue

 

Osseous tissue has a variety of functions:

Support for muscles, organs and soft tissue

Leverage and movement

Protection for critical organs

Mineral storage

Role in formation of blood cells

 

Bone tissue is of two types:

Compact

Cancellous (sponge-like tissue)

 

Famous personality suffering from Paget’s disease of bone: Ludwig van Beethoven