Paget's Disease

Paget's disease causes bones to grow too large and weaken.
Paget’s disease is a disorder that causes bones to grow too large and weaken. You can have Paget’s disease in any bone in your body, but it usually affects the:
  • Spine
  • Pelvis
  • Skull
  • Leg bones
The changes of bone tissue causes affected bone to weaken leading to:
  • Bone pain
  • Misshapen bones
  • Fractures
  • Arthritis in the joints near the affected bones

Paget’s disease usually only affects one bone or several bones, but it does not affect the entire skeleton.

Paget’s disease causes bones to grow too large and weaken.

The disease is more common in older people and those of northern European heritage. Men are more likely than women to have the disease.

Signs and symptoms can include pain, enlarged and broken bones, and damaged cartilage in joints.

Doctors are not sure what causes Paget’s disease. They think that a virus may cause it in some cases. It also tends to run in families.

Doctors usually diagnose Paget’s disease with x-rays.

Paget’s disease is treated with medicines, diet, exercise, and surgery. Following a doctor's treatment plan may lower the chance of major changes in your bones.

Doctors are not sure what causes Paget’s disease. They think that a virus may cause it in some cases. It also tends to run in families.

Many people do not know they have Paget’s disease because they have only mild symptoms. For others, signs and symptoms can include:
  • Pain
  • Enlarged bones
  • Broken bones
  • Damaged cartilage in joints

If you have Paget’s disease in your leg bones, you may also have bowed legs. Your spine might curve if the disease is in the bones of the spine.

People with Paget’s disease in the bones of the skull sometimes have:
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Large head size

Symptoms get worse slowly, and the disease does not spread to other bones.

Doctor’s diagnose Paget’s disease with x-rays. Your doctor may also order:
  • A blood test to check for alkaline phosphate, an enzyme. People with Paget’s disease have too much of this enzyme.
  • A bone scan that can show which bones are affected by the disease

In rare cases your doctor may perform a bone biopsy. During this test, the doctor removes a small sample of bone and looks at it under a microscope.

Your doctor may prescribe one of the following medicines to treat Paget’s disease:
  • Bisphosphonates. These medicines help relieve pain and keep the disease from getting worse
  • Calcitonin. This is a hormone made by the thyroid gland. It may be used for certain patients but it does not work as well as bisphosphonates and is not used as often
You may need surgery to treat:
  • Broken bones, for example your doctor may be need to set a broken bone
  • Malformed bones, for example your doctor may need to straighten bones to try and lower pain in your joints
  • Severe arthritis, your doctor may recommend you have a knee or hip replacement if medicine and physical therapy do not help

If you have Paget’s disease, the outlook is usually good. When you follow your doctor’s treatment plan, you may lower the chance of major changes in your bones. Treatment can help you manage your symptoms but does not cure the disease.