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Is It Gout Or Pseudo Gout?

Dec 14, 2007
You're certain you have gout, but are you really sure that is the correct assumption? You may not have heard of pseudo gout, but it might just be the root cause of your problem. Unlike gout, pseudo gout effects people across a broad range of ages and is also more common in both sexes when compared to gout. If left untreated, both gout and pseudo gout can have long term effects that lead to disability and a lot of pain. You should know the difference between the two so you know what treatments and lifestyle changes you should make in your particular situation.

Gout is caused by having excess levels uric acid in the blood that the body struggles to process. As a result the uric acid is deposited as crystals in the joints, most commonly the big toe joint, but it can affect any joint within the body. If gout is left untreated, the pain and swelling can become more frequent and over time damage can be done to the joints.

Pseudo gout, on the other hand, can occur in any joint at any time. This condition is not the result of uric acid crystals like gout, but comes from a build up of crystals that are formed from calcium pyrophosphate. The most common areas affected by this condition are the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and the knees, though not exclusively.

The cause of gout is partially hereditary and is also due to the body's inability to remove excess uric acid. This can happen due to liver damage brought on by heavy drinking or a large variety of other problems.

Genetics can also play a role in pseudo gout, and the calcium pyrophosphate crystals formed will cause the same type of pain as gout, and can lead to a lot of cartilage damage within the affected joints. For the most part, it is not known why these crystals develop, but they do happen more frequently with age. Some suggest conditions such as hypothyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland, low magnesium levels, and high calcium levels in one's blood may be partially to blame.

Gout is generally a condition that strikes men who have passed their fortieth birthday, with women becoming more at risk once they reach the menopause. One of the biggest indicators that you may be at risk of developing gout is if it runs in your family.

With pseudo gout, heredity may play a role, but both men and women are susceptible as they age. As many as 50 percent of people in their 90s may have this condition with only two or three percent of people fifties or sixties being affected.

While these two conditions have very different causes, and the reasons why some get pseudo gout are largely unknown, treatment options are somewhat similar. You don't have to worry about purines in foods when it comes to pseudo gout, but you do have many of the same other options when it comes to treatments. NSAIDs are recommended for those who can safely take it to help with pain and swelling, and a shot of cortisone for especially bad attacks may help. You can lower uric acid levels by watching what you eat in regards to gout by avoiding purine-rich foods, but information on lowering the amount of or dissolving the crystals in regards to pseudo gout is not something that is possible or known at this time.
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