Paget's Disease is a terrible affliction that affects millions of people around the world. It is basically a malformation of bone growth, leading to weakness, easily fractured bones, deformations, and lack of function in joints and bones. This can be caused by two things, either genetics or a slow-developing virus that may be present in the body for many years before actually demonstrating any symptoms.
Paget's disease of bone most commonly occurs in the pelvis, skull, spine and legs. The risk of Paget's disease increases with age. Your risk also increases if any family members have the disorder. Complications of Paget's disease can include broken bones, hearing loss and pinched nerves in your spine.
The following factors may play a part in causing Paget's disease:
- Genetic factors: About 10-15 in every 100 people with Paget's disease have relatives who also have the condition. In these cases the condition can be passed on from one generation to the next. But often there's no family history of the condition.
- Lifestyle factors: There's some evidence that poor diet or a bone injury early in life may act as triggers for the later development of Paget's in people who also have genetic risk factors.
Another theory is that Paget's disease may be linked to a viral infection early in life, but some experts dispute this.
Not all people with Paget's disease need to be treated. People who may not need treatment include those who:
- Only have mildly abnormal blood tests
- Have no symptoms and no evidence of active disease
- Paget's disease is commonly treated when:
- Certain bones, such as weight-bearing bones, are involved.
- Bony changes are getting worse quickly (treatment can reduce the risk of fractures).
- Bony deformities are present.
- A person has pain or other symptoms.
- The skull is affected.
- The calcium levels are elevated and causing symptoms.
Drug therapy helps prevent further bone breakdown and formation. Currently, there are several classes of drugs used to treat Paget's disease. These include:
- Bisphosphonates: These drugs are the first treatment, and they help decrease bone remodeling.
- Calcitonin: This hormone is involved in bone metabolism. It may be given as a nasal spray (Miacalcin), or as an injection under the skin (Calcimar or Mithracin).
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be given for pain. In severe cases, orthopedic surgery may be needed to correct a deformity.
If you have Paget's disease, your GP may recommend taking regular calcium supplements. Both of these help strengthen your bones.
- Physical Therapy: Some people with Paget's disease find they benefit from physiotherapy or occupational therapy, particularly people with fractures or other types of damage in the bones of their legs or spine.
- Surgery: Surgery is usually only used if Paget's disease causes further problems, such as bone fractures. Surgical options for osteoarthritis include:
- Arthroplasty-where the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint; the most commonly performed arthroplasties are hip replacements and knee replacements
- Arthrodesis-where the joint is fused into a permanent position
Some quick tips to prevent the onset of Paget's Disease
- Calcium Intake: Increasing the amount of calcium that you are consuming can be a major preventative measure for Paget's disease, or at least a way to minimize the impact of the disease on your body.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is the second essential nutrient associated with Paget's disease.
- Sunlight: The second and easier way for humans to increase their Vitamin D levels is through being exposed to sunlight. So, catch some rays to treat Paget's disease.
- Exercise: Light exercise and flexibility practice is very important when it comes to avoiding Paget's disease. Exercise can keep your muscles and joints in shape, which makes it more difficult for Paget's disease to set in.
- Weight Loss: Going on a diet, or making a concerted effort to shed a few extra pounds is a good home remedy for Paget's.