Paget's Disease

Paget's disease is a bone condition that results in enlarged and deformed bones. It is a long-term condition. Any bone in the body can be affected. However, the most common sites are the spine, skull, pelvis, thighs, and lower legs. Normal Bone StructureCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Causes

    Paget's disease is caused by a malfunction in bone formation. Normally, bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. With Paget's disease, bones are broken down abnormally fast, and new bone replacement is loose and bulky, instead of strong and compact. These poorly formed bones may become weak. They also may bend over time.

    The exact cause of this bone malformation is unknown. Paget's disease may be triggered early in life by a viral infection.

  • Definition

    Paget's disease is a bone condition that
    results in enlarged and deformed bones. It is a
    long-term
    condition. Any bone in the body can be affected. However, the most common sites are the spine, skull, pelvis, thighs, and lower legs.

    Normal Bone Structure
    Bone Matrix
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will order a blood test.

    Imaging tests take pictures of internal body structures. These are done with:

    • X-rays
    • Bone scan

  • Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent the onset of Paget's disease. People with primary family members who have Paget's disease are encouraged to have a

    blood test every 2-3 years after age 40.

  • Risk Factors

    Paget's disease is more common in people who:

    • Have a family history, especially in a parent, sibling, or child
    • Are of Northern European decent
    • Are aged 55 years or older
    • Smoke

  • Symptoms

    Most people with Paget's disease don't have symptoms. For those with symptoms, Paget's disease may cause:

    • Chronic bone pain, especially legs, hips, or spine
    • Swelling or deformity of a limb
    • Broken bones
    • Bowing of a limb
    • Damaged cartilage in the joints

    Paget's disease that involves the skull may cause:

    • Increased head size
    • Headaches
    • Facial pain
    • Hearing loss

    Paget's disease doesn't spread to other bones, but the symptoms do get worse over time.

  • Treatment

    It is best to begin treatment as soon as possible. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.