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What is Paget’s Disease?

The disease derived its name from an English doctor Sir James Paget, who first described it in 1876. Disease Pagets, also known as Osteitis deformans, is a metabolic bone disease that involves the destruction of the bone and results in growth deformities. It is a worldwide disease that affects mostly people over 40. Men are more likely to suffer from the disease than women. The bones in the human body constantly break down and grow back but when a person suffers from Disease Pagets the normal bone growth is changed. The abnormality is situated in the cells. The bone will break more quickly and it is softer than before when it grows back. The affected area becomes shorter because the bone bends. The bone can also grow larger than before. It leaves the bone weak and the increased activity in the cells results in more blood flow through the bones. The skull, spine, pelvis, thighbones, and shinbones are normally affected. The disease normally doesn’t spread to areas not affected.

Causes of the disease

Scientists still speculate on the possible causes of Disease Pagets. Theories include viral infections in the early childhood and genetic factors because the disease is more prevalent in people of Anglo-Saxon descent. Research has indicated that up to 30% of patients has a family history of the condition.

Other theories include:

  1. Hormone disorder, where the body produces unusual quantities of hormones that control bone maintenance
  2. Irregularity in the physical and chemical processes of the body
  3. Immune reaction to injury
  4. Autoimmune disorder where the body attacks healthy cells in the absence of a real infection or threat.

Warning signs of Disease Pagets

It is a slow growing disease with few warning signs. Mild pain in and over a bone is normally the first indication, together with tiredness, dizziness, and a warm feeling over the bone area. Fragile bones and abnormal growth of the bone structure are also early warning signs.


The disease may not display any symptoms in its early stages and is then discovered by accident. A dull pain in the affected areas follows. It may become a constant pain that is worsened by physical exertion. Other symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, hearing loss and unexplained bone fractures may occur. Symptoms in the later stages include bowed legs, curved back, large pelvis or head. The disease can change bones around the joints, which results in arthritis and may also affect the temporal bone, leading to partial or complete hearing loss. Dental problems may arise when the facial bone is affected. Because more blood flow through bones, the heart has to pump harder and this increases the risk of a heart attack if a person already has a heart disease. The increase in blood at the affected area, gives a warm feeling at the specific location. Neck pain, reduced height and joint pains become prevalent.

Complications of Disease Pagets

It is not a fatal disease but may lead to a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma, and osteoarthritis, kidney stones and heart failure. The disease can also lead to deafness, blindness and anemia. People often experience gout, arthritis, and nerve compression as well as bone expansion.

Diagnosis and treatment of Disease Pagets

The doctor will take blood samples and x-rays. He will also review your family history of related illnesses and refer you to a rheumatologist. Treatment is focused on reducing pain and bone loss. Steps will be taken to build new bone. Early diagnosis is important to reduce the effects of the illness. There is no cure at this stage. Medication includes ibuprofen, calcitonin, and biphosphonates that help to reduce pain and inhibit bone destruction. Long-term treatment is needed and surgery may be essential for severely affected bones. Dietary supplements of calcium, magnesium and boron help to maintain bone growth. You can also make use of herbal remedies like alfalfa, valerian root, primrose oil, and capsicum to reduce pain and tenderness. Adapt your diet to include food that is rich in calcium such as salmon, brewer’s yeast, goat’s milk, yogurt, tofu and leafy greens. Avoid eggplants, peppers and tomatoes.

Side effects of treatment

Disease Pagets is a permanent condition for which you will need to take medication. All of the medication has side affects and some of the herbs may cause allergic reactions.

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