Pseudogout (SOO-doe-gout) is a form of arthritis characterized by sudden, painful swelling in one or more of your joints. These episodes can last for days or weeks. The most commonly affected joint is the knee.
Also called calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, the common term "pseudogout" was coined for the condition's similarity to gout. Both conditions are caused by crystal deposits within a joint, although the type of crystal differs for each condition.
It isn't clear why crystals form in your joints and cause pseudogout, but the risk increases with age. Treatments can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Pseudogout most commonly affects the knees. Less often, wrists and ankles are involved. During a pseudogout attack, the affected joints are usually:
When to see a doctor
Pseudogout has been linked to the presence of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals within the affected joint. These crystals become more numerous as people age, appearing in nearly half the population older than 85. But most people who have these crystal deposits never develop pseudogout. It's still unclear why some people have symptoms and others don't.
Factors that can increase your risk of pseudogout include:
The crystal deposits associated with pseudogout can also cause joint damage, which can mimic the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Preparing for your appointment
You'll probably first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor. After an initial examination, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions (rheumatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, as well as what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Pseudogout signs and symptoms can mimic those of gout and other types of arthritis, so lab and imaging tests are usually necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Treatments and drugs
There's no cure for pseudogout, but a combination of treatments can help relieve pain and improve the joint's function.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Home treatments may be useful during pseudogout flare-ups. Examples include:
Last Updated: 2012-07-27
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