Even after you've reached your full height, your bones don't stop growing. Bone is living tissue engaged in a continual process of renewal. During this constant process called remodeling, old bone is removed and replaced by new bone. Paget's disease of bone disrupts this process.

Early in the course of the disease, old bone starts breaking down faster than new bone can be built. Over time, your body responds by generating new bone at a faster than normal rate. This rapid remodeling produces bone that's softer and weaker than normal bone, which can lead to bone pain, deformities and fractures.

Scientists haven't identified a cause of Paget's disease of bone, though they have discovered several genes that appear to be linked to the disorder.

Some scientists believe Paget's is related to a viral infection in your bone cells that may be present for many years before problems appear. Hereditary factors seem to influence whether you're susceptible to the disease.

Feb. 13, 2013