Know the basics
What is pseudogout?
Pseudogout 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. Other joints affected are ankles, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Because it’s similar to gout but has a different cause, it’s called pseudogout, meaning false gout.
How common is pseudogout?
Pseudogout can occur at any age but usually affects people older than 60. According to researching, half of pseudogout patients over 85 years old. In addition, people with major trauma in joints also suffer from pseudogout in the joints.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of pseudogout?
Symptoms of pseudogout are joint pain, swelling, warmth and redness that start quickly. Pain is often constant and gets worse if the joint is moved. Activities such as walking, dressing, and lifting may be hard. Sometimes, more than one joint involved. Attacks may occur at any time, but certain events such as surgery or an illness can trigger them. Symptoms usually go away within days after treatment; untreated they may last for several weeks or more. There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have sudden, intense joint pain and swelling. The more you delay, the worse your disease is and may cause long-term pain Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes pseudogout?
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 age 85. But most people who have these crystal deposits never develop pseudogout. It’s not clear why some people have symptoms and others don’t. It’s not caused by an infection and is not contagious.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for pseudogout?
Factors that can increase your risk of pseudogout include:
- Older age. The risk of developing pseudogout increases with age.
- Joint trauma. Trauma to a joint, such as a serious injury or surgery, increases your risk of pseudogout in that joint.
- Genetic disorder. In some families, a predisposition for developing pseudogout is hereditary. These people tend to develop pseudogout at younger ages.
- Mineral imbalances. The risk of pseudogout is higher for people who have excessive calcium or iron in their blood or too little magnesium.
- Other medical conditions. Pseudogout has also been linked to an underactive thyroid gland or an overactive parathyroid gland.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is pseudogout diagnosed?
Pseudogout signs and symptoms can mimic those of gout and other types of arthritis, so the doctor needs to do following tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Lab tests: Blood tests can check for problems with your thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as for a variety of mineral imbalances that have been linked to pseudogout. Withdraw joint fluid and look for pseudogout crystals under a microscope.
Imaging tests: X-rays of your affected joint often can reveal joint damage and crystal deposits in the joint’s cartilage.
How is pseudogout treated?
There’s currently no way to get rid of the crystals, but medicine can help symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or indomethacin, are used for treatment. Sometimes, stronger anti-inflammatory medicines, such as prednisone or colchicine, are needed. Removal of joint fluid followed by cortisone injection into the joint is another common treatment. Cortisone injections usually give the fastest and most complete
relief of pain and swelling.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pseudogout?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with pseudogout :
- Rest the affected joint until you start to get better
- Take your medicines as prescribed
- Call your doctor if treatment isn’t improving symptoms
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download Version
Porter, R. S., Kaplan, J. L., Homeier, B. P., & Albert, R. K. (2009). The Merck manual home health handbook. Whitehouse Station, NJ, Merck Research Laboratories. Page 597. Pseudogout. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pseudogout/basics/risk-factors/con-20028152. Accessed October 01, 2015
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017