Paget’s disease affects the normal repair and renewal process of bone. Throughout life, bone is renewed and repaired through a process called bone remodelling. Paget’s disease is characterised by abnormalities in this process. The affected bone is renewed and repaired at an increased rate, adversely affecting the bone’s structure. Bone affected by Paget’s disease may be enlarged and misshapen.
Paget’s disease can occur in any bone, often causes no symptoms and may be found by chance. For those with symptoms, these may include pain, deformity and fracture. Either single or multiple bones may be affected with common sites being the spine, skull, pelvis and thigh (femur).
The risk of developing Paget’s disease increases with age and it is most commonly diagnosed in those over 50 years. Paget’s disease is the second most common metabolic bone disease after osteoporosis. Approximately 1% of people in the UK, over the age of 55 years, are thought to be affected. The condition is also common in other European countries such as France, Spain and Italy and in people of European descent who have emigrated to other regions of the world, such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada.
Environmental factors also play a role in Paget’s disease, as evidenced by the fact, that over the last few decades, the frequency and severity of the disease have declined in many countries, and is most marked in regions that previously had a high prevalence, such as the UK. Various environmental triggers have been suggested, including dietary calcium or vitamin D deficiency, exposure to environmental toxins, repetitive mechanical stress on the bone, skeletal trauma and slow viral infections. Despite this, researchers have yet to discover which environmental factors influence the development of Paget’s disease.
Many people who have Paget’s disease do not have symptoms and never develop complications. In many cases, individuals are unaware that they have the condition. It may be discovered by chance on x-ray or if a blood test is performed for another reason.
Of those who present with symptoms, pain is the most common. Pain may arise from the affected bone itself, or from the altered biomechanics of limb deformity; for example, a bowed leg alters the way you walk and puts stress on the joints and soft tissues.
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They have filmed a series of videos, based around the topic of treatment, which is available to watch on their website and YouTube channel, to coincide with Paget’s Awareness Day. These include interviews with leading experts, including our Chairman, Professor Stuart Ralston, and Honorary President, Professor Graham Russell. They focus on different areas of treatment, including the importance of the discovery of bisphosphonates for Paget’s disease, and the significance of current and future research into the condition.
Professor Stuart Ralston, introduces the series. All full-length episodes will be available to watch on 11th January, click here to watch previews of each episode and to find out more.
Source : Paget’s Association