Bone Disease Symptoms usually occur due to an imbalance between the synthesis of bone and its destruction. Here we present the seven most common clinical pictures.
The locomotor system is essential for the functioning of vertebrates (including the human being) since it allows us to navigate through a three-dimensional environment and adapt to the environment and its impositions. This true work of bioengineering is composed of 206 bones, more than 650 voluntary skeletal muscles, and 360 joints, 86 of them located in the skull. Each of these subunits is essential for the long-term maintenance of posture and movement, no matter how small or basic.
Unfortunately, due to the need for functional integration of each of its parts, the musculoskeletal system is sometimes prone to ailments. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately more than 1.710 million people suffer from at least one musculoskeletal disorder, which makes this group of pathologies the leading cause of disability in the world. Of all of them, lumbago stands out above the rest, being the leading cause of disability in 160 different countries.
In any case, beyond back pain, there are about 150 conditions that can deteriorate the locomotor system in the short or long term. This time we focus on the bone system, as we present the 7 most common Bone Disease Symptoms and their characteristics. Do not miss it.
What are the most common bone disease symptoms ?
The WHO defines the disease as “the alteration or deviation of the physiological state in one or more parts of the body, for generally known causes, manifested by characteristic symptoms and signs, and whose evolution is more or less predictable”. On this occasion, the definition of irregularity is applied to the bone system, which usually includes bones, cartilage, and joint elements.
Most of these pathologies are characterized by the low bone density that can lead to various fractures and clinical events, but not all Bone Disease Symptoms can be included in this etiological framework. Next, we show you the 7 Bone Disease Symptoms from a multifactorial point of view. Do not miss it.
Osteoporosis is the queen of Bone Disease Symptoms, as up to 80% of elderly women suffer from it. It is a loss of bone density. Although it may not seem like it, the bone system is very plastic and changing over time, as it contains mineral reserves that sometimes need to be used at a metabolic level by the body. 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones, so it is usually necessary to absorb bone tissue at some point to release this secondary element into the blood.
At 30 years of age, peak bone mass is reached, that is, more bone has been produced than was reabsorbed. This balance is maintained for about 10 years, but then it begins to lose mass at a rate of 0.3-0.5% per year. In menopausal women, this rate is drastically accelerated by hormonal imbalances, which is why osteoporosis is much more common in the female gender.
Ultimately, the cortical bone thickness decreases, and the internal porosity of the bones increases, predisposing them to fractures and injuries. Osteoporosis can lead to other clinical bone entities, such as the broken spine, fractures, and sprains, among others.
Osteomyelitis is a sudden or long-standing infection of the bone or bone marrow, usually caused by the pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes or S. aureus. It commonly affects children and adolescents (with an epidemiological peak at 3 years of age). Its annual incidence rate is 1 patient for every 5,000 healthy children.
These types of infections are usually secondary, that is, the pathogens come from another source and spread to the bone. The patient with osteomyelitis presents symptoms such as bone pain, fever, excessive sweating, swelling, general malaise, and many other signs. It is treated with specific antibiotics for long periods since getting rid of the disease is usually quite complex due to the difficulty of accessing the bone at a pharmacological level.
In osteonecrosis, a lack of blood flow causes bone tissue to deteriorate faster than it can be replaced, due to the lack of resources for the synthesis of hydroxyapatite crystals and other compounds. This clinical event can occur in one or more bones, although it is most common in the upper leg, arms, knees, shoulders, and ankles.
The general incidence of this pathology is 4.7 cases per 10,000 people per year. Although its causes are not fully known, the use of intravenous or oral steroids as long-term drugs, alcohol consumption, HIV infection, and many other factors is suspected. The pathology can be prevented with analgesics and other approaches, but if the tissue damage is excessive, graft surgeries and bone removal are used.
4. Malignant bone tumor
The most common malignant bone tumor is metastatic, considered a secondary tumor. This means that, in most cases, cells from another tumor travel to the bones and establish themselves in them, causing the typical symptoms of a malignant neoplasm (cell mass with uncontrolled growth).
On the other hand, the most common primary bone tumor is osteosarcoma. This variant represents 20% of common bone cancers, but it occurs in less than one patient per 100,000 people. For this reason, almost always when we talk about bone cancer we associate it with metastasis from another tumor.
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As we have said, within the group of Bone Disease Symptoms tendons and joints are also taken into account. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder, due to aging, wear, and tear of joint tissue. Almost 100% of the world population has symptoms of OA from 70 years of age, so it is considered an almost inevitable clinical entity after the passage of time.
This clinical picture causes pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, a squeaky sensation, and much more in the involved joints. It can be treated with non-prescription pain relievers (Paracetamol), physical therapy, occupational therapy, cortisone injections, and joint replacement in the most severe cases.
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that occurs during the development of the skeletal system, usually between childhood and puberty. It affects approximately 3% of adolescents in the world, and thanks to this figure it becomes one of the most common Bone Disease Symptoms in youth.
Although the causes of this condition are not known, its causality is attributed to neuromuscular conditions, birth defects that cause long-term problems, and injuries or infections in the spine. This locomotor disease is treated with immobilization devices and/or surgery.
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7. Paget’s disease
Paget’s disease (PD) is a bone disorder of a chronic nature, in which bone is synthesized and destroyed faster than normal. Due to these drastic fluctuations, the bone system is enlarged and fragile, which leads to injuries and other events derived from exogenous mechanical stress to which the body is subjected.
This disease causes neurological, orthopedic, and cardiovascular complications, so it is not limited only to the bones. The drugs used today in the treatment of PD are bisphosphonates, compounds that can slow down osteoclastic activity to normal. With proper treatment, the prognosis is positive.
We have presented you with a list of 7 more or less common Bone Disease Symptoms in general society, with multiple etiologies and variable levels of affectation. Even so, without any doubt, the pathological pictures that stand out above the rest are osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. In some aging populations, both conditions can reach prevalences of up to 100%.
Many of these processes appear naturally with age, while others depend more on exogenous agents or bad luck (such as a tumor, osteonecrosis, or osteomyelitis). Fortunately, there are effective treatments today to slow the progress of almost all of them.
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