Health Encyclopedia

Paget Disease of the Bone

What is Paget disease of the bone?

Paget disease of the bone is a long-term bone disease. It causes the bones become enlarged and deformed. Bone may become think, but break easily. 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 not known. Researchers think it may be caused by a slow viral infection of bone. It may also be inherited.

What are the symptoms of Paget disease of the bone?

The following are the most common symptoms of Paget disease of the bone. However, symptoms can be different for each person. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the affected area

  • Bone deformity in the affected area

  • Bones that tend to fracture in the affected area

  • Arthritis

Very rarely, Paget disease may progress to bone cancer.

The symptoms of Paget disease of the bone can be similar to other bone disorders or medical problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.

How is Paget disease of the bone diagnosed?

Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and give you a complete physical examination. He or she may also recommend certain tests. Those tests may include:

  • X-ray. A test to look for abnormalities in your bones.

  • Blood tests.

  • A bone-specific alkaline phosphatase test. A test that measures the levels of alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme found throughout the body) in the bone. Increased levels may indicate Paget disease.

  • Radionuclide bone scan. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream. The material can be detected by a nuclear imaging scanner. The scans shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

Treatment for Paget disease of the bone

Your health care provider will determine your treatment based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • The level of your disease

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Physical therapy to improve muscle strength

  • Medications to slow the disease and manage pain

  • Surgery to cut, realign, or replace affected bone

Medical Reviewers:

  • Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
  • MMI board-certified, academically-affiliated clinician