Information for Patients
Paget's Disease of Bone
Paget's disease of bone causes your bones to grow too large and weak. They also might break easily. The disease can lead to other health problems, too, such as arthritis and hearing loss. You can have Paget's disease in any bone, but it is most common in the spine, pelvis, skull, and legs. The disease might affect one or several bones, but not your entire skeleton. More men than women have the disease. It is most common in older people.
No one knows what causes Paget's disease. In some cases, a virus might be responsible. It tends to run in families. Many people do not know they have Paget's disease because their symptoms are mild. For others, symptoms can include
- Enlarged bones
- Broken bones
- Damaged cartilage in joints
Doctors use blood tests and imaging tests to diagnose Paget's disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent some symptoms from getting worse. Treatments include medicines and sometimes surgery. A good diet and exercise might also help.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Paget disease of bone Paget disease of bone is a disorder that causes bones to grow larger and weaker than normal. Affected bones may be misshapen and easily broken (fractured).The classic form of Paget disease of bone typically appears in middle age or later. It usually occurs in one or a few bones and does not spread from one bone to another. Any bones can be affected, although the disease most commonly affects bones in the spine, pelvis, skull, or legs.Many people with classic Paget disease of bone do not experience any symptoms associated with their bone abnormalities. The disease is often diagnosed unexpectedly by x-rays or laboratory tests done for other reasons. People who develop symptoms are most likely to experience pain. The affected bones may themselves be painful, or pain may be caused by arthritis in nearby joints. Arthritis results when the distortion of bones, particularly weight-bearing bones in the legs, causes extra wear and tear on the joints. Arthritis most frequently affects the knees and hips in people with this disease.Other complications of Paget disease of bone depend on which bones are affected. If the disease occurs in bones of the skull, it can cause an enlarged head, hearing loss, headaches, and dizziness. If the disease affects bones in the spine, it can lead to numbness and tingling (due to pinched nerves) and abnormal spinal curvature. In the leg bones, the disease can cause bowed legs and difficulty walking.A rare type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma has been associated with Paget disease of bone. This type of cancer probably occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 people with this disease.Early-onset Paget disease of bone is a less common form of the disease that appears in a person's teens or twenties. Its features are similar to those of the classic form of the disease, although it is more likely to affect the skull, spine, and ribs (the axial skeleton) and the small bones of the hands. The early-onset form of the disorder is also associated with hearing loss early in life.