Paget's disease is a chronic condition that results in enlarged and deformed bones. Although any bone in the body may be affected, the most common sites are the spine, skull, pelvis, thighs, and lower legs. The disease does not usually spread to other normal bones.
Paget's disease is caused by a malfunction in bone formation. Normally, bones are constantly being broken down by cells called osteoclasts, and rebuilt by cells called osteoblasts. 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, and may bend over time.
The exact cause of this bone malformation is unknown, but it is associated with heredity. Some experts believe that Paget's may be triggered early in life by a viral infection.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
Blood tests—such as those for
—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of the bones
—a series of pictures of bones taken after injection of a small amount of radioactive material
Treatment may include:
Medications may include:
Pain medicine—such as
or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Bisphosphonates—usually by tablet or by injection
—administered by injection or nasal spray
Surgery may be required if you have one of the following conditions:
Severe degenerative arthritis
, usually about 1,000-1,500 mg per day
Adequate exposure to sunshine to promote
production in the skin (but limit time in the sun to prevent sun burning, wrinkling, and aging)
Intake of adequate
, usually about 400 mg per day (more may be needed in older people)
to maintain skeletal health, joint mobility, and normal body weight
Avoidance of excess mechanical stress on involved bones
A splint for an area at high risk for fracture
There is no known way to prevent the onset of Paget's disease. People with primary family members who have Paget's disease are encouraged to have a routine alkaline phosphatase blood test every two to three years after age 40.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a