Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Pseudogout is a form of arthritis, or joint inflammation, that is caused by deposits ofcalcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints. The crystals cause joint pain and other symptoms.Pseudogout is similar to gout, another form of arthritis in which joint painis caused by deposits of uric acid crystals.
What is going on in the body?
The joint inflammation of pseudogout is caused by calcium pyrophosphatecrystals deposited in the joints. Pseudogout may resemble gout in many ways.The main difference between gout and pseudogout is that the joint crystals aredifferent. In pseudogout, calcium pyrophosphate crystals collect in the joints.In gout, the crystals are uric acid crystals. The crystals in the joint causesimilar inflammation and symptoms in both conditions.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
Pseudogout is caused by the deposit of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in thejoints. Why the deposits occur is usually not known. There is some evidencethat an enzyme deficiency causes pseudogout, but that cause has not beenproven. Occasionally, the cause is hereditary.
Pseudogout is most common in elderly individuals and is more common in malesthan in females. The risk of pseudogout is increased in individuals who havejoint problems from other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. People with hormonal disordersinvolving the thyroid or parathyroid glands are also more likely to developpseudogout.
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
Pseudogout commonly affects the knees, and the attacks may lastfor days or weeks. Pseudogout may also cause joint inflammation in the wrists, ankles, and other joints.
Symptoms of pseudogout include joint pain, joint redness, joint swelling,and chronic arthritis.
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the disease diagnosed?
The diagnosis of gout starts with a medical history and physical examination. Then thehealthcare provider may do a jointaspiration, inserting a needle into the joint space to remove someof the joint fluid. The fluid is examined in the laboratory for the presence ofcalcium pyrophosphate crystals. JointX-rays might be used to look for crystals in the joint.
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the disease?
There is no known prevention for pseudogout. Effective treatment of disordersof the thyroid or parathyroid glands may delay the onset of pseudogout in someindividuals.
What are the long-term effects of the disease?
An individual with pseudogout can suffer from worsening arthritis andpermanent disability. However, with good treatment, outcomes are usuallyexcellent.
What are the risks to others?
Pseudogout is not contagious and poses no risk to others.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the disease?
Pseudogout is treated with medications to stop inflammation and reduce pain.Colchicine and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofenor naproxen, are commonly used. Corticosteroids may be given as pills orinjected into the affected joint. Sometimes fluid is removed from the joint tohelp control joint pain and swelling.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Any time fluid is removed from or injected into a joint, there is a risk ofintroducing bacteria that can cause infection. Pain and bleeding can alsoresult. Colchicine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, andcorticosteroids may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominaldistress, and allergicreactions.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
Treatment of pseudogout is lifelong, because the disease flares up periodically.Most people can return to regular activity after the acute attacks subside.
How is the disease monitored?
A person with pseudogout should contact a healthcare provider if there is anincrease in joint pain or swelling. This may indicate an acute attack that canbe treated with medications. Any other new or worsening symptoms also should bereported to the healthcare provider.
Article type: xmedgeneral