What are the risk factors for pseudogout?
Factors that can increase your risk of pseudogout include:
The following factors increase a person's risk of pseudogout:
- Older than 70 years of age
- A history of pseudogout in your family
- Underactive thyroid (called hypothyroidism)
- Too much iron in your blood (called hemochromatosis)
- Low magnesium levels
- Overactive parathyroid (called hyperparathyroidism)
- Too much calcium in your blood (called hypercalcemia)
How is pseudogout diagnosed?
Pseudogout is suggested when abnormal calcifications are seen in the cartilage of joints on X-rays. These calcifications are referred to as chondrocalcinosis and very suggestive of a diagnosis of pseudogout when there is also inflammation of the involved joint.
Your doctor may draw fluid from your joint to check for the crystals that cause pseudogout. X-rays can show any buildup of crystals or signs of joint damage. Your doctor will probably want to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the complications of pseudogout?
The crystal deposits associated with pseudogout can also cause joint damage, which can mimic the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
What is the treatment for pseudogout?
The treatment of pseudogout is directed toward stopping the inflammation in the joints. There's no cure for pseudogout, but a combination of treatments can help relieve pain and improve the joint's function.
If over-the-counter pain relievers aren't enough, your doctor may suggest:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Prescription strength NSAIDs include naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others) and indomethacin (Indocin). NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and decreased kidney function, especially in older adults.
- Colchicine (Colcrys). Low-dose pills of this gout drug are also effective for pseudogout. If you have frequent episodes of pseudogout, your doctor may recommend that you take colchicine daily as a preventive measure.
- Corticosteroids. If you can't take NSAIDs or colchicine, your doctor may suggest taking corticosteroid pills, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation and end the attack. Long-term use of corticosteroids can weaken bones and cause cataracts, diabetes and weight gain.
To relieve pain and pressure in an affected joint, your doctor inserts a needle and removes some of the joint fluid, which helps remove some of the crystals from the joint. The doctor will then inject the joint with a numbing medication and a corticosteroid to decrease inflammation.
What is the outlook of pseudogout?
The prognosis of pseudogout is good. Treatment of the inflammation can lead to complete resolution of the inflammation, pain, tenderness, and loss of joint function. While this can last for weeks, the inflammation of resolves within days with proper treatment.