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Paget's disease is a problem of abnormal bone growth. It may affect just one bone, but it usually affects more than one.
Paget's disease is most common in people older than 50, and the risk of getting it increases with age. Most people who have it are able to lead normal lives.
The cause of Paget's disease is not clear. But it may be related to:
You're more likely to get Paget's disease if your parents, brothers, or sisters have it.
The viruses linked to measles in people and distemper in dogs have been found in the bones of people with Paget's disease. But there's no proof that these viruses cause this disease.
Most people with Paget's disease have no symptoms. When symptoms occur, the most common ones are:
Other symptoms may occur, depending on which part of the body is affected by Paget's disease.
Paget's disease is most often found by chance when a person sees a doctor for a problem such as hip or back pain. An abnormal X-ray or blood test may lead the doctor to discover this disease.
To diagnose Paget's disease, the doctor will ask about your past health, do a physical exam, and order tests such as:
Affected bones often look deformed and too thick on X-rays.
This is the best test for diagnosing Paget's disease. You may have a bone scan of your whole body to find out which bones are affected.
The most important one for diagnosing Paget's disease is a blood test for alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme made by bone. If the level of this enzyme is high, your doctor will want to do other tests.
You might also need other tests, such as an MRI or a CT scan.
Many people don't need treatment for Paget's disease. But even if you don't need treatment, you will still need to see your doctor on a regular basis from now on. This will let your doctor watch for other problems you might get from the disease, such as arthritis, fractures, or nerve problems.
Your doctor may prescribe medicine if you have symptoms or if you have no symptoms but you are at risk for other problems from Paget's disease. Medicine can help reduce the breakdown of bone tissue, control symptoms such as bone pain, and prevent other problems such as arthritis, fractures, or nerve damage.
Bisphosphonates are usually the first medicines prescribed for Paget's disease. They often make the disease inactive, sometimes for years or decades. If it becomes active again, you may need to take this medicine off and on to keep the disease under control.
If you still have pain while taking your prescribed medicine, you can try:
You might also need other treatments, such as:
Some people may need surgery to replace a damaged hip or knee joint.
There are many things you can do to help yourself when you have Paget's disease.
Current as of: July 10, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review BoardAll Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: July 10, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review BoardAll Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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