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Paget Disease of the Bone

What is Paget disease of the bone?

Paget disease of the bone is a chronic bone disorder. It causes bones to become enlarged and deformed. Bone may become dense, but fragile, because of excessive breakdown and deformation of bone. The disease is the most common bone disorder after osteoporosis in people over age 50.

What causes Paget disease of the bone?

The exact cause of Paget disease of the bone is unknown. It may be due to a slow viral infection of bone. Genetics may also play a role.

What are the symptoms of Paget disease of the bone?

These  are the most common symptoms of Paget disease of the bone:

  • Pain
  • Bone deformity
  • Risk for bone fractures
  • Arthritis

Very rarely, Paget disease may progress to bone cancer.

The symptoms of Paget disease of the bone may look like other bone disorders or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is Paget disease of the bone diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your medical history and  do a physical exam. Other tests may include:

  • X-ray. This test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of tissues, bones, and organs.
  • Blood tests
  • A bone-specific alkaline phosphatase test. This test measures the levels of alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme found throughout the body) in the bone. Any condition of bone growth or an increased activity of bone cells, including Paget disease, will cause alkaline phosphatase levels to rise.
  • Radionuclide bone scan. This is a nuclear imaging technique. It uses a very small amount of radioactive material injected into the blood. This tracer can be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

How is Paget disease of the bone treated?

Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and medical history
  • How sick you are
  • How well you can handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy to help muscle strength
  • Medications called bisphosphonates to slow abnormal bone resorption
  • Medication to manage pain
  • Surgery to cut, realign, or replace affected bone

Key points about Paget disease

Paget disease of the bone is a chronic bone disorder. It causes bones to become enlarged and deformed.

It may be caused by a slow viral infection of bone. Genes may play a role.

  • Symptoms may include:
    • Pain
    • Bone deformity
    • Risk for bone fractures
    • Arthritis
  • Treatment may include:
    • Physical therapy to help muscle strength
    • Medications called bisphosphonates to slow abnormal bone resorption
    • Medication to manage pain
    • Surgery to cut, realign, or replace affected bone

 

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
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