Pagets Disease is a slow progressive disorder affecting one or several bones, predominately the skull, spine, long bones of the legs and/or hips. It is normally only found in elderly people. It results in malformation of the affected bone due to osteoclast activity (the cells involved with breaking down bone to remodel it.) The new bone that is grown is different from normal bone, it is much spongier in appearance and there is a greater network of blood vessels running through it.
Pagets disease is also known as Osteitis Deformans. The spongy texture of the newly forming bone allows for bending and distortion to take place, hence the name. Blood tests normally show high levels of alkaline phosphatase, indicating the breakdown of bone, and X-rays are important to see which bones are affected.
Complications can arise because of the increase in blood supply to these bones and therefore an increase in blood volume. This in turn will put a strain on the heart.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition but usually treatment is along two lines. Firstly drugs will be prescribed that can control and reduce the bone remodeling and osteoclast activity, secondly painkillers to relieve any bone pain. It is not known what causes this condition, it is thought a virus triggers it off.
Paget Disease (Number 2) This is a malignant condition of the nipple, resembling eczema in appearance, and is associated with underlying infiltration of cancer in the breast.
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