Paget's Disease of Bone

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Paget's disease facts

  • Paget's disease is a chronic bone disorder.
  • Paget's disease frequently causes no symptoms.
  • Paget's disease can cause pain in the bones or joints, headaches and hearing loss, pressure on nerves, increased head size, bowing of limb, or curvature of spine.
  • Tests used to diagnose Paget's disease include X-rays, blood tests, and bone scanning.
  • Paget's disease can lead to other medical conditions.
  • Medical treatment options include aspirin, other anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications, and medications that slow the rate of bone turnover, decreasing the activity of Paget's disease.
  • Surgical operations may necessary for damaged joints, fractures, severely deformed bones, or when nerves are being pinched by enlarged bone.

What is Paget's disease?

Paget's disease is a chronic condition of bone characterized by disorder of the normal bone remodeling process. Normal bone has a balance of forces that act to lay down new bone and take up old bone. This relationship (referred to as "bone remodeling") is essential for maintaining the normal calcium levels in our blood. In bone affected by Paget's disease, the bone remodeling is disturbed and not synchronized. As a result, the bone that is formed is abnormal, enlarged, not as dense, brittle, and prone to breakage (fracture).

Paget's disease affects older skeletal bone of adults. It's estimated that 1% of adults in the U.S. have Paget's disease. There is also an extremely rare form of Paget's disease in children, referred to as juvenile Paget's disease. Paget's disease is also known as osteitis deformans.

What causes Paget's disease?

It is not known what causes Paget's disease. Recently, certain genes have been associated with Paget's disease, including the Sequestrosome 1 gene on chromosome 5. Virus infection may be necessary to trigger Paget's disease in people who have inherited the genetic tendency to develop the condition by having these genes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/2/2014

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Treatment of Paget's Disease of Bone

Calcitonin Injection

This medication is used to treat certain bone problems (e.g., Paget's disease, postmenopausal osteoporosis) and to reduce high blood levels of calcium. Calcitonin is a man-made hormone that works by slowing bone loss and maintaining normal calcium levels in the blood. It may also help to reduce bone pain in people who have Paget's disease.