Sunday, January 15, 2006

Paget's Disease (osteitis deformans)

Osteitis deformans (Paget's disease) is a common bone disorder in the elderly. It is characterized by a combination of excessive bone resorption and deposition, which can result in enlargement of the bones and in severe deformity of the skeleton. Paget's disease can occur at any site but is most commonly found in the tibia (shin bone), the bones of the pelvic girdle, and the skull. Bone enlargements can lead to pressure on other structures, producing deafness, back pain, and paraplegia (paralysis of lower extremities) due to spinal cord compression. Cardiac failure can occur and is usually due to associated ischemic heart disease. Osteogenic sarcoma (cancer of bone) is the most serious complication of Paget's disease but it is rare.
Calcitonin administered in daily doses is used in the treatment of those patients with bone pain, neurological complications, and high-output cardiac failure. Most patients with Paget's disease do not require treatment.
Brocklehurst, J. C. Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1985.

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