What Is Paget's Disease?
Paget's disease of the bone is the second most common bone disorder in elderly patients. (Osteoporosis is the most common.) Paget's disease, also known as osteitis deformans, is a disorder that affects the normal remodeling process of bone. In normal bone, the bone constantly remodels. In the remodeling process, old bone is removed and new bone is formed. In patients with Paget's disease, this process is altered. These patients have an excessive amount of bone resorption (removal) followed by an even more excessive amount of new bone formation. Unfortunately, this increased rate of bone remodeling leads to new bone that is not as strong as normal bone. This abnormal bone is weaker, has more blood vessels, and is larger in size than normal bone. While most cases do not cause symptoms, some patients may develop bone pain, fractures, deformities, and sometimes malignant transformation into sarcoma (a bone cancer), although this is rare.
Men are affected by Paget's disease slightly more often than women. Paget's disease is more common in people of Northern European ancestry, most commonly in those from Great Britain. It is rare in Asia and Africa. It is more common with increasing age, typically diagnosed in people in their 50s. In the United States, a small percent of the general population is estimated to have Paget's disease.
What Is the Cause of Paget's Disease?
The exact cause of Paget's disease remains uncertain. Several theories have been suggested, including a viral cause (such as paramyxovirus including measles, respiratory syncytial virus, or human parainfluenza virus).
There is also thought to be a genetic link for Paget's disease with a possible autosomal dominant inheritance.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/27/2016
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