Pagets Disease

What is Pagets Disease?

The disease was first described in 1876 and is named after the English doctor Sir James Paget. Also known as Osteitis deformans, Pagets Disease is a metabolic bone disease that involves the destruction of the bone and results in growth deformities. It affects mostly people over forty and it is a worldwide disease. Women are less likely to get the disease then men. Pagets Disease changes the normal bone growth pattern in the human body where the bones constantly break down and grow back. The cells carry this abnormality. When the bone grows back it is softer than before and will break more quickly. Since the bone bends the affected area becomes shorter. In some cases the bone regrowth can be larger than before. The increased activity in the cells results in more blood flow through the bones which leaves them weak. Normally the condition affects the skull, spine, pelvis, thighbones and shinbones. Areas that are not affected typically don’t get the disease since it often doesn’t spread.

Causes of the Disease

The possible causes of Pagets Disease is still being speculated by scientists. Viral infections in the early childhood and genetic factors are some theories since the disease is more prevalent in people who have Anglo-Saxon descent. A family history of the condition is found in thirty percent of the patients according to research.

Other Theories Include

When the body produces unusual quantities of hormones during hormone disorders this affects the control of bone maintenance. The processes of the body can have an irregularity both physically and chemically. After an injury there can be an immune reaction. With an autoimmune disorder the healthy cells are attacked by the body when there is an absence of a real infection or threat.

Warning Signs of Pagets Disease

There are few warning signs with this slow growing disease. Normally the first indication is mild pain in and over a bone along with tiredness, dizziness and a warm feeling over the bone area. Early warning signs can also be fragile bones and abnormal growth of the bone structure.


In its early stages the disease may not display any symptoms and it is often found by accident. The affected area is often followed by a dull pain. Sometimes a constant pain will develop which is worsened by physical exertion. Headaches, dizziness, hearing loss and unexplained bone fractures are other symptoms that may occur. Bowed legs, curved back, large pelvis or head are symptoms that occur in the later stages. Arthritis can result when the disease changes the bones around the joints and it can also affect the temporal bone, leading to partial or complete hearing loss. If the facial bone is affected then dental problems may arise. The risk of heart attack is increased if a person already has a heart disease since the heart has to pump harder to push more blood flow through bones. A warm feeling is felt at a specific location because of the increase in blood at the affected area. Prevalent symptoms are also neck pain, reduced height and joint pains.

Complications of Pagets Disease

It may lead to a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma but it is not a fatal disease and other complications can include osteoarthritis, kidney stones and heart failure. Deafness, blindness and anemia can also result from this disease. Gout, arthritis, nerve compression and bone expansion can also be experienced by people with this disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pagets Disease

Blood samples and X-rays will be taken by the doctor. You will also be referred to a rheumatologist and the doctor will review your family history of any related illness. Reducing pain and bone loss is the focus of treatment. Several steps will be taken to help build new bone. To reduce the effects of the illness early diagnosis is important. At this stage there is no cure. To help reduce pain and inhibit bone destruction the medications include ibuprofen, calcitonin and biphosphonates. For severely affected bones long term treatment is needed and surgery may be essential. To help maintain bone growth then dietary supplements such as calcium, magnesium and boron will help. Herbal remedies such as alfalfa, valerian root, primrose oil and capsicum can be taken to help reduce pain and tenderness. Try to include food rich in calcium in your diet such as salmon, brewer’s yeast, goat’s milk, yogurt, tofu and leafy greens. You should try to avoid eating eggplants, peppers and tomatoes.

Side Effects of Treatment

You will need to take medication for Pagets Disease and it is a permanent condition. There are side effect with all of the medication and some herbal remedies may cause allergic reactions.

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