What are Paget’s Disease of the Bone and Osteoarthritis?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 12, 2013

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What is Paget's Disease of Bone?


Paget's disease is a chronic disorder that can result in enlarged and misshapen bones. The excessive breakdown and formation of bone tissue causes affected bone to weaken, resulting in pain, misshapen bones, fractures, and other bone and joint problems, including osteoarthritis. Paget's disease typically is localized, affecting just one or a few bones, as opposed to osteoporosis, for example, which affects all the bones in the body. Scientists do not know for sure what causes Paget's disease.


What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes changes in cartilage, the elastic tissue that cushions the joints. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another, while absorbing energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint.and Osteoarthritis.


Not everyone with Paget's disease will develop osteoarthritis. Among those who have both, some may have osteoarthritis caused by the Paget's disease while others will simply have two unrelated conditions.

Both Paget's disease and osteoarthritis can cause joint and bone pain. In people with both conditions, joint and bone pain can occur in the same areas of the body. This can sometimes make it difficult for doctors to tell which condition is causing the pain.

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. The diagnosis of osteoarthritis in a person with Paget's disease may involve blood tests, x-ray images, or the examination of fluid drawn from the joint. Blood and urine tests may also be used to help find out if something other than Paget's disease is causing the arthritis.

The bone changes revealed by x-ray images help doctors diagnose both osteoarthritis and Paget's disease. However, in people who have both conditions in the same area of the body, it is often difficult to distinguish between the two. For this reason, the judgment of the patient's doctor is critically important for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.



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