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Paget's Jargon Buster A - B

A

Aclasta: A brand name for zoledronate, which is a member of the bisphosphonate class of drugs. It is a treatment given for Paget’s disease by infusion into the bloodstream.

Actonel: A brand name for risedronate tablets, which can be used to treat Paget’s disease. Risedronate is a member of the bisphosphonate class of drugs.

Acute: Used to describe a disorder or symptom that comes on suddenly and needs urgent treatment.

Adjacent: Next to.

Adverse reaction: Side effect of a drug or treatment.

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): A blood test for ALP levels may be carried out as part of a liver function test (LFT). ALP is present in many cells within the body, but particularly in liver and bone cells. If there is overactivity of bone cells due to Paget’s disease, ALP is released and can be measured. When Paget’s disease is active, the ALP level will often, but not always, be raised.

Analgesia: Medication used to relieve pain.

Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior e.g., the anterior surface of the heart is toward the breastbone (the sternum).

Arthrodesis: The joining (fusion) of two bones.

Axial skeleton: The part of the skeleton that includes the bones in the centre of the body, including the bones of the skull, neck, spine, ribcage, sternum and sacrum, which are area commonly affected by Paget’s disease.

B

Banana fracture: A complete, horizontal pathological (caused by a disease, rather than injury) fracture, which can occur in deformed bones affected by Paget’s disease.

Basic research: Research that seeks to understand processes that go wrong in cells, for example in a disease.

Beta crosslaps: A bone turnover marker, which measures bone breakdown activity.

Bilateral: Affecting both sides.

Bisphosphonates: A group of drugs that slow down the activity of the cells that break down bone (osteoclasts). They are used in the treatment of osteoporosis, Paget's disease and other conditions.

Blade of grass sign: Also known as the 'candle flame sign', this refers to how Paget's may appear on an x-ray of a long bone, such as the thigh bone (femur).

Blood test: A small sample of blood is taken from a vein for testing by laboratory scientists.

Bone: Bone is living tissue that makes up the body's skeleton. Providing support for the body, protecting our vital organs, and allowing us to move, bones also provide an environment for bone marrow, where the blood cells are created, and act as a storage area for minerals, such as calcium.

Bone biopsy: The removal of a piece of bone tissue for examination by a pathologist.

Bone remodelling: Bone is living tissue, which is renewed and replaced throughout life. This process is known as bone remodelling (or bone metabolism) and is important in maintaining a healthy skeleton. It ensures that old or damaged bone is removed from the skeleton and replaced with new healthy bone tissue. It is this process that is disrupted in Paget’s disease.

Bone markers: These measure bone cell turnover, which is the process of bone tissue being broken down, and new bone being built (see ‘bone remodelling’ above).

Bone metabolism: A continual cycle of bone renewal and repair. Normal bone metabolism enables bones to repair microscopic damage and maintain their strength. It is this process that is disrupted in Paget’s disease. See ‘bone remodelling’ above.

Bone scan: A radionuclide bone scan, also known as a scintigram, isotope bone scan or nuclear medicine bone scan, can determine which bones have Paget’s disease and how active the disease is. The scan involves an injection into a vein, of a small and safe amount of a mildly radioactive chemical called an isotope. This travels to the bones via the bloodstream and after around 3 hours a ‘gamma’ camera scans the skeleton to produce an image. Abnormal bone absorbs more radioactivity than normal bone, so these areas will be highlighted on the scan results.

Bone turnover: Also known as bone remodelling. The skeleton is continually renewing itself. Bone cells (osteoclasts) break down old bone (bone resorption) and other bone cells (osteoblasts) lay down new bone (bone formation). This process of renewal is often described as bone turnover.

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