Paget disease is a chronic condition that affects your bones. The most striking characteristic is unnecessary bone growth that includes deformities. While the bones can enlarge, they can also grow weaker.
Paget disease most often occurs in adults over 50-years of age. It can also occur concurrently with osteoporosis, which is the natural tendency of bones to become brittle (and more porous) as people age.
The cause of Paget disease is unknown. One theory holds that a virus that affects bones causes Paget disease.
Symptoms and complications
The most pronounced symptom of Paget disease is bone growth leading to bone deformity. It can also cause pain that runs from mild to severe depending on the location and rate of growth. It can lead to arthritis or bone cancer, although cancer is a rare occurrence.
There are several ways to diagnose Paget disease. Usually, a combination of the following techniques is used:
A risk factor for Paget includes whether or not other family members have had this condition.
X-rays and other scanning tests can help diagnose Paget disease.
Bone scans are used to evaluate blood flow to bones. The scanner detects a trace amount of radioactive material that is injected into your bloodstream.
Bone biopsies are also a frequently used diagnosing tool. A needle and a syringe can remove samples of bone, although minor surgery may be required.
There are several options for treating Paget disease, including non-evasive therapies such as physical therapy. Pain management is also frequently used.
The pharmaceutical option
The most commonly prescribed medications are called bisphosphonates. This class of drug slows the rate of bone growth.
Depending on the amount of pain, doctors will advise you to take over-the-counter pain killers that you can find at a pharmacy or prescription medication, keeping in mind that opioid-based medications can be addictive.
Typical surgery involves cutting away bone masses or realigning them to reduce pain. It call also a replacement of bone when the original bone structure is too compromised to perform its expected functions.
Some Important Reminders
Every visit to see your physician should have a goal or, perhaps, two or three goals, that you want to accomplish. Make sure you get your goals for that visit met.
Bring a pad of paper and a pen, not just to write down the answers your doctor gives you, but also to write questions in advance so you don’t forget them.
It is often helpful to bring someone else with you to sit in on the exam or the interview or both. Bringing a spouse, significant other or adult offspring can not only give you a broader perspective on the visit, but they can also calm you down if the visit is anxiety-provoking.
Make sure you are clear on any new medicine or procedure. You should be aware of the reasons for a decision and the procedures involved. When it comes to a new medicine, ask about side effects and possible adverse reactions of combinations of medicine you may be taking.
And remember: In Tempe, Arizona, dial (486) 449-FXRX for an appointment to treat sports-related injuries and all other orthopedics needs.