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Pseudogout Specialist

Arthritis Associates -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Associates

Rheumatology & Arthritis located in San Antonio, TX

Pseudogout and gout are both painful forms of arthritis caused by crystal buildup inside the joints. At Arthritis Associates, the team of respected rheumatology specialists provides comprehensive care for these challenging diseases in their state-of-the-art San Antonio, Texas, office. Use the online scheduling feature or call the office to book your appointment today.

Pseudogout Q&A

What is pseudogout?

Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disease (CPPD), or pseudogout, is a type of arthritis in which deposits of pyrophosphate dihydrate develop inside your joints to form crystals. 

The crystals can cause serious damage to the material that cushions your bones (cartilage), leading to joint pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Untreated, pseudogout can cause joint breakdown and potentially disability. 

Pseudogout is similar to gout in many ways, but with gout, you develop uric acid crystals in your joints.

What are the symptoms of pseudogout?

Pseudogout most often occurs in the knees but can affect other joints like the wrists, ankles, elbows, or others. Symptoms occur in sudden attacks that may last from a few days to several weeks.

During a pseudogout attack, you may have symptoms like:

  • Intense joint pain
  • Significant joint swelling
  • Hot-feeling joint
  • Red skin around the affected joint

Pseudogout attacks may occur a couple of times a month, around once a year, or somewhere in-between. If untreated, your frequency of attacks and the number of joints affected may increase. 

What causes pseudogout? 

The cause of pseudogout is unknown, but its incidence increases with age. Up to half of the people in their 90s have the crystal deposits that cause pseudogout. Genetics may play a role in the development of pseudogout. 

Researchers are studying many possible contributing factors, including low magnesium levels, excess iron storage, hyperparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, and excessive blood calcium.

How is pseudogout diagnosed?

Pseudogout diagnosis usually starts with imaging tests like X-rays and ultrasound. These tests can show the crystals inside your joint cartilage. You may need blood tests to check for glandular problems and mineral imbalances or a synovial fluid (joint fluid) test to check for crystals. 

Arthritis Associates has on-site digital X-rays, ultrasound, and phlebotomy. The team provides expedited results to get your diagnosis and treatment faster.

How is pseudogout treated?

Pseudogout treatment can ease your pain, reduce attack frequency, and prevent further joint breakdown. The Arthritis Associates team may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling on an as-needed basis.

If you have a condition that prevents NSAID use, such as kidney disease, you may need joint drainage to relieve swelling along with intra-articular injections of a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation for a few months at a time. 

Certain medications that normally treat other arthritic conditions may also help with pseudogout. For example, low daily (preventive) doses of colchicine, a gout drug, may decrease pseudogout attack frequency. 

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like hydroxychloroquine and biologic medications like anakinra, both normally rheumatoid arthritis treatments, and other medications may help if you have severe pseudogout attacks.

The Arthritis Associates team provides compassionate and attentive care to set you free from pseudogout pain. Call the office or use the online scheduling feature to book your appointment.