Causes And Risk Factors Of Paget's Disease

October 9, 2023

Paget's disease is a bone disorder that usually progresses at a slow rate. It's the second most common type of bone disease, and it affects the process of bone renewal. This gradual recycling process involves the replacement of old bone tissue with new bone tissue. The new tissue is generated too quickly in individuals with Paget's disease, and the resulting bone is weak and fragile. The disease can lead to bone pain, fractures, and deformities. The most commonly affected bones are located in the pelvis, skull, spine, and legs. Complications of Paget's disease include hearing loss, arthritis, osteoarthritis, heart failure, and bone cancer.


Research studies conducted over the years have indicated the possibility of patient environment playing a role in the emergence of Paget's disease. An investigation of environmental factors was carried out in Canada on 176 patients who lived in the same geographic area, and the information was gathered from a questionnaire completed by all the participants. Almost half of the patients had a family history of the disease.

The study also included 147 healthy controls. The environmental factors utilized for analysis included wood-fired heating, residency near a mine, and hunting. There was some evidence linking environmental factors to the development of Paget's disease, but all forms of research are mostly inconclusive at this point.

Family History And Genetics

Scientific evidence has proven there's a hereditary factor in the development of Paget's disease, as certain genes have been linked to the disorder. Approximately one-third of patients develop the disease because of family history and genetics. The condition tends to run in families, and at least twenty-five percent of patients have a family member also suffering from the condition. A mutation in a gene involved in the function of bone cells has been linked to forty to fifty percent of patients who inherited the disease. Viral infections may trigger Paget's disease in individuals with a genetic predisposition.


Individuals over forty years old are more likely to develop Paget's disease than others. The condition is rarely diagnosed in individuals younger than forty years old. This shows the risk of developing Paget's disease increases with age. The onset of the disorder usually occurs after fifty-five, and approximately eight percent of the population over sixty may be suffering from Paget's disease. Our bones are constantly renewing themselves, but Paget's disease causes excessive breakdown and formation of bone tissue.

Symptoms may be mild or undetectable in the beginning stages and surface in later years. They are often confused with other bone disorders like osteoporosis, another age-related bone condition, because of the similarities. Many age-related conditions cause symptoms of Paget's disease: weak bones, bone pain, deformities, and fractures.


A person's nationality can increase their risk of developing Paget's disease. Evidence shows individuals who live in certain geographical areas like the United States, Greece, England, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, and various parts of Europe are more likely to suffer from the disease. It's also more common in countries settled by European immigrants and in individuals of Anglo-Saxon descent.

It's less common in Scandinavia, China, Japan, and India. Paget’s disease occurs most frequently in the United Kingdom and among those with western European heritage. It's estimated in individuals aged fifty and older in the United Kingdom, about two to three of every one hundred have the disease somewhere in their body. Approximately one percent of United States residents over forty years old are afflicted with Paget's disease.

MORE FROM HealthPrep