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Paget's disease of bone is a chronic disorder that often results in enlarged and deformed bones. The excessive breakdown and formation of bone tissue that occurs with Paget's disease can cause bones to weaken. This, in turn, can lead to bone pain, arthritis, deformities and fractures. (Read about "Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases" "Bone Fractures")
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), Paget's disease of bone may be caused by a viral infection. (Read about "Microorganisms") There is also a hereditary factor (Read about "Genetics"), since the disease may appear in more than one family member. It is most common in people over the age of 40. Sometimes, there are no noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do occur, NIAMS says they can include any of the following:
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) says Paget's disease of bone occurs in about 3 to 4 percent of the population over age 50. It is slightly more common in men than women.
The disease is diagnosed by x-ray (Read about "X-rays"), bone scan or a blood test called serum alkaline phosphatase. (Read about "Laboratory Testing") To relieve pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can be used. Be aware that NSAID's can cause digestive and other problems. (Read about "Gastritis") Other treatment options include calcitonin injection and/or drugs called bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates help reduce bone pain and stop or slow down the progress of the disease. According to NIAMS, exercise can help people with Paget's disease of bone to maintain healthy bones, control their weight and keep joints moving. But, you should talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program to make sure what you plan to do is safe and will not put too much stress on the bones that are affected by Paget's disease. (Read about "Rehabilitation") In some cases, surgery is needed, for example to fix a fracture, or to relieve pressure on nerves in the spine or skull. NIAMS says osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, is an extremely rare complication that occurs in less than one percent of all patients. (Read about "Bone Cancer")
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