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Paget’s Disease - exploring the symptoms and diagnosis

11/01/2022

Author: Sara Westwood

Clinical Negligence

Diagnosing Paget's Disease

11th January is Paget's Disease Awareness Day

11th January 2022 is International Paget’s Disease Awareness Day. This is a disease that most people have not heard of despite the UK having the highest prevalence of Paget’s Disease in the world. In this article, Hatch Brenner Solicitors in Norwich explores the symptoms and the importance of not delaying diagnosis and treatment for the condition.

What is Paget’s Disease?

Discovered by Sir James Paget in the 19th century, Paget’s Disease is a condition which disrupts the normal cycle of bone renewal, causing the body to generate new bone faster than normal. The rapidity of the regeneration process produces bones that are weaker than normal and can lead to pain, deformities and fractures.

Paget’s Disease (also known as Paget’s disease of the bone) can affect one or several bones, most commonly the pelvis, spine and skull.

Symptoms of Paget’s Disease

  • Constant, dull and aching bone pain – often worse at night
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling – usually worst upon waking up in the morning
  • Shooting pain, numbness and tingling – compression or damage to a nearby nerve

However, in many cases, there are no symptoms and only identified from a specific test or a test conducted for another reason.

When to see your GP - Diagnosis of Paget’s Disease

You should visit your GP if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of bone, joint and nerve pain or any deformities to bones. If Paget’s is suspected, the GP will run a simple blood test to check the level of the substance Alkaline Phosphatase in the blood.

An X-ray or scan will be needed following the blood test to confirm the diagnosis. An x-ray can often show abnormalities such as areas affected with bone breakdown or enlargement of the bone. During a bone scan, radioactive material is injected into the body where it travels to the most affected areas, highlighting it on the scan images.

Treatment of Paget’s Disease

There is currently no cure for Paget’s Disease but treatment is available and can help relieve the symptoms. Medications include:

  • Bisphosphonates – help to regulate bone growth
  • Painkillers – over the counter painkillers
  • Supportive therapies – physio or occupational therapist
  • Surgery – in the event of fractures, deformities or severe osteoarthritis
  • Diet and nutrition – Calcium and Vitamin D

Additional types of Paget’s Disease

There are several types of Paget’s Disease which can also present in:

  • The nipple – rare type of breast cancer
  • The penis – a rare type of penile cancer
  • The vulva – a rare type of vulval cancer

Symptoms often include sore scaly skin, itching, tingling and oozing lesions.

If you suspect you have Paget’s Disease please get in touch with your GP. If you have been diagnosed with Paget’s but believe there was a delay and your treatment was negligent, please contact our Clinical Negligence team via Partner and Clinical Negligence Specialist, Sara Westwood on 01603 660811 or email sarawestwood@hatchbrenner.co.uk.

If you would like further information about any service, call us on 01603 214220