Pseudogout vs. Gout: What’s the Difference?

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Pseudogout and gout are two types of arthritis with causal differences.

Elevated levels of uric acid in the joints cause gout, while excess calcium pyrophosphate causes pseudogout, which is also called “calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD).”

If you’re experiencing joint pain and want to know whether you’re suffering from either of these two conditions and when you should see a doctor, this guide will walk you through the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment and prevention.

Symptoms of Pseudogout and Gout

In both cases of pseudogout and gout, you’re likely to experience sudden, unexpected stabbing pain. This usually happens in your joints where excess uric acid (causing gout) or calcium pyrophosphate (causing pseudogout) crystallizes.

The location of the pain is the most significant symptom difference between pseudogout vs. gout. More than 50% of gout attacks occur in the big toe. This is the typical image that appears when gout is mentioned historically.

Gout also affects other common areas, such as the wrists, fingertips, and heels. Pseudogout most commonly occurs in the knee but can also affect the wrist, hip, or shoulder.

Gout and pseudogout are often mistaken for:

Risk Factors of Gout and Pseudogout

Risk factors are similar for gout and pseudogout – old injuries in the relevant joint and family history to name a few. Let’s review the specific risk factors for each of these conditions.

Gout Risk Factors   

Gout tends to be more prevalent in men than women, and Black men are more likely to experience gout than white men. The initial onset is between the ages of 30 and 50, and the number of incidences increases with age.

Factors that elevate uric acid levels in the body include:

  • Diet
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Medical conditions
  • Certain medications
  • Gender
  • Surgery or trauma

Pseudogout Risk Factors   

Gender and ethnicity are two significant risk factors for gout that don’t apply to patients suffering from pseudogout. Risk factors for pseudogout include:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Mineral imbalance
  • Surgery or trauma
  • Hypercalcemia

Self-Care for Pseudogout and Gout

Prevention of Pseudogout and Gout

In general, treatment doesn’t vary significantly between pseudogout and gout. We recommend achieving pain relief from gout attacks by reducing inflammation with medication, rest, and sometimes ice.

For long-term conditions, cortisone injections can relieve symptoms, but surgery is an option, albeit rare these days.

Lifestyle changes are an increasingly popular solution for the treatment of pseudogout and gout. These changes can ease the pain of these attacks and reduce their frequency.

However, only some people experience the beneficial effects, and lifestyle changes don’t seem to impact the incidence of pseudogout attacks.

To keep symptoms of pseudogout at bay, we recommend pain relievers that offer an anti-inflammatory effect.

If the symptoms are bad enough, your physician may talk to you about joint-replacement surgery.

Prevention of Pseudogout and Gout

Preventing pseudogout isn’t as easy as avoiding a gout attack because pseudogout is largely due to other underlying health conditions.

However, you can reduce the risks of a gout attack by:

  • Avoiding alcohol, sweet beverages, or too much water
  • Reducing stress
  • Exercising
  • Avoiding high-purine foods
  • Losing weight

When to Call a Doctor About Your Pseudogout or Gout Pain

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of either pseudogout or gout, visit Southwest Florida Rheumatology. Our team is here to help.

We have three locations to serve our patients: Sun City, Riverview, and Wesley Chapel.

Our advanced facility has everything needed to relieve your gout or pseudogout symptoms.

We’re dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of rheumatic diseases. Book now because patients who seek early intervention get the best results.

Contact us today to schedule your appointmentfor an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

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