Pseudogout

1 What is Pseudogout?

A form of arthritis characterized by sudden and painful swelling in one or more of your joints is called pseudogout. It is also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD)that can last up to days or even weeks and the most affected joint is the knee.

Crystals form in your joints but the reason is unclear. Medications for pain and inflammation are the treatments for this condition and the risk increases with age.

2 Symptoms

Sudden and painful swelling in one or more of your joints is the main symptom of pseudogout.

The affected joint usually are the

  • knees,
  • ankles
  • or wrists

that are mostly swollen, warm and severely painful.

Consult your doctor if you have a sudden and intense joint pain.

3 Causes

Pseudogout is caused when calcium pyrophosphate crystals form in the synovial fluid in the joints.

And these crystals are multiplying as people age appearing in nearly half of the population older than 85 but some doesn’t have pseudogout even if they have the symptoms.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of pseudogout is done by performing several tests.

Consult your doctor if you have a swelling and painful joint and he will conduct a physical exam and will refer you to a rheumatologist who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other joint conditions.

Make a list of answers to questions such as

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have you had this before?
  • Have you ever injured your joint?
  • Do you have any other medical conditions?
  • Has anyone in your family had joint problems?
  • What vitamins and medications you are taking?

Your doctor will also ask you questions such as

  • What are your symptoms?
  • What parts of your body are affected?
  • How long do symptoms last?
  • Do you know what triggers it?
  • Have you tried any treatments?

The signs and symptoms of pseudogout and gout or arthritis might be similar.

Some of the tests that your doctor will recommend include:

  • lab tests – to check if you have problems with your thyroid and parathyroid glands of if there are mineral imbalances, your doctor may also test the presence of crystals by drawing a sample of fluid from your affected joint;
  • imaging tests – X-ray of your affected joint to check for joint damage.

5 Treatment

There is no possible cure for pseudogout but there are medications to treat the pain such as:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn) and indomethacin (Indocin), side effects are decreased kidney function and stomach bleeding;
  • Colchicine (Colcrys) – an effective pseudogout treatment;
  • Corticosteroids – prednisone for the inflammation but side effects are cataracts and bone weakness, weight gain and diabetes.

Your doctor may also suggest joint drainage in which he will insert a needle and remove some of the joint fluid and then inject it with numbing medication and corticosteroid to lessen the inflammation and to relieve pain and pressure in the affected joint.

6 Prevention

Small doses of colchicine may be recommended to prevent frequent attacks of pseudogout.

If you have pseudogout, you should be hydrated and rest your joints if you have a flare-up.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

The following are homeopathic remedies for pseudogout:

  • Rhus tox – for the pain in the affected joint and for sensitivity or morning stiffness problmes,
  • Bryonia – for extreme pain,
  • Apis – if you have a swelling in the affected joint,
  • Belladonna – for swelling and pain and hot feeling in the affected joint,
  • Ruta – if you have a pain in a once injured joint,
  • Kalmia – for sudden onset of pain.

These homeopathic remedies should be taken with professional advice.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

These home treatments may be helpful in coping with pseudogout:

  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium,
  • resting the joint for a couple of days,
  • apply ice cold packs to reduce the inflammation.

9 Risks and Complications

The risk factors for developing pseudogout include:

  • age – it increases as you grow old,
  • joint trauma – if you have a previous injury or surgery
  • genetic disorder – it is hereditary for some people,
  • mineral imbalance – for people who have excessive iron or calcium in their blood or little magnesium,
  • other medical conditions – parathyroid gland or thyroid gland.

The crystal deposits may be related to pseudogout and can be similar to the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

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