This is a commonly misunderstood disease that displays symptoms strikingly similar to that of gout. Although anyone can develop pseudo gout the risk does greatly increase with age, similar again to that of gout. Around 50% of people around the age of 90 to 100 have pseudo gout although not all of them will be aware of it.
Pseudo gout is actually a type of arthritis that is caused in much the same way gout is. Instead of a development of uric acid crystals in the joints, pseudo gout is where there is a buildup of calcium crystals in the joints that cause inflammation and joint damage. For this reason the name calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease was given to the disease however most people just refer to it as pseudo gout. This can often cause some confusion between gout and pseudo gout and it is important to remember that although they display similar symptoms, they are two different diseases and need to be treated in different ways. This makes diagnosis of the condition very important to ensure the proper treatment is given. If left untreated, pseudo gout can cause joint degeneration and chronic disability.
Pseudo gout can create symptoms that include localized severe pain, swelling and incapacitation for days or even weeks. It can even cause more severe forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and is often quite common in the knees, wrists and ankles among other joints.
It is for the most part a bit of a mystery why the calcium crystals form although it’s apparent that the presence of crystals increases with age. It’s suspected that pseudo gout is often caused partly by genetics as it seems to be primarily heredity in most people. Excess iron storage and low magnesium levels also seem to indicate a cause of excessive calcium levels in the blood stream.
It has been found that pseudo gout often occurs in conjunction with gout and both types of crystals are present in the same joint. It has also been discovered that calcium is often present in the cartilage when a person has both gout and pseudo gout. It’s often thought that calcium crystals attack the cartilage first before the joints. Using ice packs and getting plenty of rest is usually used for pseudo gout attacks, your doctor will probably advice you to take some non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs or NSAID’s for short. You may also require medical treatment such as a cortisone injection which reduces the inflammation, into the joint, or extracting the crystallized fluid.
You can only detect pseudo gout and properly diagnose it by seeking medical expert advice. Your doctor will be able to arrange for a test to be carried out for your diagnosis. This will involve removing a small amount of the joint fluid to test for the crystals within it. This test will therefore also be able to tell you if you have gout or pseudo gout. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you have pseudo gout.