What is diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)?

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is a skeletal disorder that causes ligaments and tendons in the body to calcify (harden). These calcified areas can also form bone spurs (abnormal new bone growth) that can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.

While DISH usually affects the spine, it can also occur in other areas throughout the body. DISH is a type of arthritis. It is also called Forestier’s disease.

How common is diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)?

DISH is uncommon in people under 40 years old. It develops more often in people over 50. It affects more men than women.

What causes diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)?

DISH is caused by calcification and the abnormal growth of new bones. Calcification happens when ligaments and tendons harden because of a buildup of calcium salts. Doctors are not certain what causes these conditions to occur.

What are the symptoms of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)?

Some people with DISH have no symptoms. Doctors find the condition when examining X-rays taken for a different reason.

When symptoms of DISH do occur, they include:

  • Numbness or tingling in legs
  • Pain
  • Reduced mobility
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble swallowing or hoarseness (abnormal voice changes) if DISH develops in the neck

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