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Brief about Paget's disease: causes, Symptoms and diagnosis

04 October, 2021 Anuja Sahi

What is Paget’s disease of bone? 

Paget’s disease of the bone is a long-term bone disease. Your bones usually break down and then renew in a natural cycle. This process is aberrant in Paget’s disease. There is an abnormal amount of bone breakdown and regeneration. The bones are larger and softer than normal because they regrow too quickly. They could be malformed and readily broken; the disease often affects older people usually over the age of 55. Paget’s disease causes damage to usually one or few bones.

Many people with Paget’s disease have no symptoms and aren’t aware they have until they get x-rays taken for another reason. Bone pain and other symptoms might be caused by the disease itself or by consequences such as arthritis, bone deformities, and fractures.

Cause of Paget’s disease

It’s unclear what causes Paget’s illness, although it’s possible that genes passed down through generations play a role. People who already have a genetic risk for Paget’s disease may be triggered by lifestyle factors such as poor diet or early bone damage.

  • Genetics: Paget’s disease is a genetic condition that runs in families for example if someone in your family has been diagnosed with the disease you are likely to be affected by this. Another cousin will develop the condition in as many as 25 to 40 % of instances
  • Age: Paget’s disease affects just a small percentage of people under the age of 40. As people get older, it becomes more common.
  • Environmental Factors: Certain environmental exposures may play a role in the development of Paget’s disease, according to certain research. However; this has not been confirmed conclusively.

Symptoms of Paget’s disease

The majority of persons with Paget’s disease of the bones show no symptoms. The most common complaint when symptoms appear is bone discomfort. Because this illness causes your body to make the new bone more quickly than normal, the rapid growth of bone results in the bone that is less structured and weaker than normal bone, which can cause pain, deformities, and fractures.

Some of the symptoms experienced in Paget’s disease are:

  1. Bone pain is the most common complaint among people who do exhibit symptoms. This discomfort could be caused by active Paget’s disease or its consequences, which include:
    1. Brittle bone causes fractures
    2. Bone deformity, including the affected bone bowing
    3. Arthritis has progressed to the point where joints near the damaged bone are inflamed
    4. Enlarged bones compress nearby nerves, resulting in a lack of feeling
  2. Leg: As your bones deteriorate, they may bend, leaving you bowlegged. Bones that are enlarged or deformed in your legs might place extra strain on adjacent joints, leading to osteoarthritis in your knee or hip.
  3. Symptoms can also be caused by the disease’s effect on calcium levels in the blood. Overactive osteoclasts may release enough calcium from the bone when they break it down to cause a high calcium level in the blood when Paget’s disease is active in numerous bones. This uncommon complication can cause a variety of symptoms, such as
    1. Loss of appetite
    2. Fatigue
    3. Weakness
    4. Constipation
    5. Abdominal pain

When to contact your doctor?

You should immediately seek your doctor’s consultation if you have:

  • Bone and joint discomfort
  • Tingling and numbness in one of the extremities
  • Deformities of the bones
  • Hearing loss that isn't explained, especially if it's only on one side

Diagnosis of Paget’s disease

Your doctor will evaluate any regions of your body that are causing you pain during the physical exam. He or she may also request X-rays and blood testing to confirm the diagnosis of Paget’s bone disease.

  • X-Rays: X-rays are used to visualize dense structures like bone. An x-ray is typically used to diagnose Paget’s disease. Paget’s disease causes a bone to grow bigger and denser than a normal bone. It could also be distorted in shape.
  • Your doctor may also ask for your medical history, if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with Paget’s disease then it may be one of the leading causes of Paget. Or else, if you have ever been diagnosed or treated with bone-related issues that may be because of injury or something else.
  • Laboratory Tests: To help confirm the diagnosis, a blood test called serum alkaline phosphate may be utilized. Alkaline phosphatase levels are typically high in people with Paget’s disease, reflecting the rapid rate of bone turnover.

Urine tests demonstrate fast bone turnover can also be used to diagnose Paget’s disease.