What is Osteitis Deformans?
This is a relatively common disease of the bone, most often seen in aging patients. It is common in Great Britain, even more common in Australia, and rare in China. Any bone of the body may be affected, but the pelvis is the most likely, followed by the upper ends of the long bones of the lower limbs (femur and tibia), the heavy bones of the vertebral column, skull and humerus (the long bone of the upper part of the upper limb).
The basic problem is an initial osteoporosis, in which calcium is absorbed from the bony structure. This causes softening of the bones, and a tendency to bow and fracture. In due course, this is followed by the laying down of new a metal screw often needed to fix the ends of a fractured femur bone, and this ultimately becomes the dominant feature. So the bones tend to become hard and brittle, fracturing easily. Adjacent joints are prone to osteoarthritis, particularly the hip and knee joints.
Osteites Deformans Symptoms
The disease is one of advancing years and, although occasionally seen in younger people, is seldom in evidence before the age of 50. The sexes are affected equally. Often there are no symptoms at all, the disease being discovered quite by accident when an X-ray is being taken for something entirely different.
However, others may complain of symptoms, particularly deep bone pain that is worse at night, and a shift in posture fails to give any relief. Others note the “typical triad” of symptoms. This consists of an obvious bowing of the limbs, enlargement of the skull and loss of height. The long bones tend to bend forwards or sideways. The bones of vertebral column tend to fracture, so producing a reduction in height. Disc degeneration may occur, and produce pressure on the nerve roots with added symptoms. Pathological fractures common, particularly in the back, severe nerve impingement may produce serious symptoms.
It is claimed that at many as 10 per cent of Paget’s disease patients ultimately suffer from malignant (cancerous changes in the bones. This must be remembered, particularly if there is a sudden increase in pain over the affected bones. It needs immediate, investigation.
Osteites Deformans Treatment
Many forms of therapy have tried, but none have been universally effective until the discovery of the value calcitonin. Salmon and human calcitate are currently in favour, often bring considerable relief and are of value even in patients who suffer from major nerve defects.. This has been the most advance in therapy ever, and may soon replace most other existing forms of treatment. It is now widely used in most major medical centres around the Western world.