Paget’s Disease of Bone

What is Paget’s Disease of Bone?

Paget’s Disease of Bone is a condition that causes abnormalities and overgrowth of bone in mature adults. Contrary to popular belief, bones do not stop growing when the body reaches physical maturity. Bone loss and renewal continues throughout life, but those with Paget’s disease are afflicted with abnormal formation of new bone tissue.

The new cells are unorganized and result in softer frailer bones. The cause of Paget’s disease is not fully understood, but it is thought to be caused by a virus that targets specific bone cells. It can also be hereditary. It can strike multiple areas of the body including the spine, pelvis, limbs and skull, or it can affect just a one or two locations. Blood tests, imaging and biopsies are used to diagnose the disease.

What are the Symptoms of Paget’s Disease of Bone?

The majority of people with Paget’s disease of bone are asymptomatic. Those with symptoms may experience:

  • Bone deformity
  • Warm feeling in affected areas
  • Headaches
  • Hearing impairment
  • Vision loss
  • Painful joints and bones
  • Weakness, numbness and/or tingling

The bones can break much more easily, and nerves can become pinched. Because the heart has to pump harder to circulate blood to affected locations, heart failure can occur in Paget’s disease patients with existing heart disease. Walking can become a challenge when afflicted with arthritis and bowing of the legs. Bone cancer is a very rare result of the disease.

How is Paget’s Disease of Bone Treated?

Treatment for Paget’s disease of bone depends on the symptoms and their severity. Those without symptoms do not require treatment. Treatment for those with symptoms may include:

  • Medications to strengthen bone
  • Pain relievers
  • Walking aids
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgical procedures to repair fractures, replace
  • joints, realign bones and to relieve pinched nerves

For the majority of those with Paget’s disease, overall quality of life is are not adversely affected, and the prognosis is good.

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Last Reviewed:
September 21, 2016
Last Updated:
August 23, 2017
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