Pseudogout can be misdiagnosed as gout based on the symptoms. Pseudo means false, and Gout is a form of arthritis. If you or someone you know has gout, you understand the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. The difference between pseudogout and gout is the process by which the symptoms occur. Pseudogout is not a false form of gout; it is just a milder, similar version of gout. Pseudogout is also a form of arthritis. It causes pain and discomfort that may cause you to think you have gout. Understanding the symptoms, risk factors, and the cause will allow you to get the treatment you need right away and ease your pain.
The inflammation of the joints is common among Americans. Arthritis is a condition that is not particularly life threatening, but it is painful to live with. When you hear the term arthritis, you may think it is just one disease. Arthritis is a category of inflammatory joint conditions. There are many forms of arthritis. Each form is caused by something different. Sometimes arthritis is a genetic condition. It seems to affect families. Arthritis may also be acquired. Sometimes persistent injuries to the joints will increase your risk to arthritis. When there are certain chemical imbalances, it too may affect the joints.
Cause of Pseudogout
Pseudogout is a result of crystallization from calcium. Cartilage makes up the joints. When the calcium crystals form, they deposit into the cartilage. The crystals are then put into the fluid of the joints. It is at this point that you begin to experience symptoms. The primary reason for its confusion with gout is that you experience some of the same symptoms. Along with the symptoms, the doctor will notice crystals and think it comes from uric acid buildup. Getting the right diagnosis is important. If you do not, you will get treated for the wrong condition.
There are many risk factors for pseudogout. The first factor is age. The older you are, the greater the risk of getting pseudogout. The body begins to break down and not work as effectively or efficiently. Injuries to the joint are also something that not only causes arthritis but leave calcium deposits. When your blood contains more calcium than it should, it tends to be deposited in the fluid of the joints. Thyroid problems put you at risk for pseudogout as well. The thyroid has a lot to do with calcium deposits and how calcium gets into the blood stream. When there are issues with the thyroid, you may have too much in your system. Pseudogout may also result from hereditary causes.
Pseudogout affects the knees more than anything else. You first feel a lot of pain. Along with the pain, you also feel the warmth. That warmth is the increased blood flow in the knees, or whatever joint is suffering. Inflammation also comes. The inflammation can make the joint stiff. You may also feel a lot of pain in the wrists and ankles. The symptoms can happen all of a sudden. They can start out mild, but they can end up very severe.
Pseudogout vs. Gout
Pseudogout and gout have many similarities, but also a lot of differences. Some of the similarities between the two conditions include the crystals that are formed. A difference comes in because uric acid cause crystals in gout, but calcium deposits are the source of crystals in pseudogout. The symptoms are similar and happen all of a sudden. Where you feel, the pain is also different. Gout tends to hit the big toe as well as the feet and ankles. Pseudogout affects the ankle as well, but it also affects the wrists. With all these similar traits diagnosis is the most important.
Blood tests are the first step in making a diagnosis. Through blood tests, the doctor can identify if there is excess calcium in the blood. They will also assess thyroid problems. Fluid from the joint will be drawn. This fluid also shows if there is calcium in the joint. Finally, imaging tests are done. X-rays show the calcium in the joint. It also shows if there is joint damage.
Treatment begins with medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the first step of treatment. Sometimes gout drugs can help. Corticosteroids can be helpful in getting rid of the pain. Too much steroid use can be bad and increase your risks. Draining the joint is also helpful. A needle is put into the joint, and the excess fluid along with the calcium is expelled. Surgery is not usually necessary. At home, it is good to rest and add ice if you feel joint pain.
Pseudogout is not as severe as gout and can be treated easily. If you notice sudden pain and discomfort, particularly in the knee joints, you should talk to a physician about it. Treatment will bring instant relief. The pain does not have to control you and hinder you from doing the things that you want to do.
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