GOUT AND PSEUDOGOUT
By: Adrienne R. Hollander, M.D.
Specialized Gout Treatment in New Jersey
Gout or pseudo-gout? Your rheumatologist knows the difference.
It takes an experienced rheumatologist to make this tricky diagnosis, and the specialists at Rheumatic & Back Disease Associates (ARBDA) have the knowledge and experience to do it. Here, patients receive world-class gout treatment , right here — throughout local New Jersey communities.
Read more to learn about gout symptoms, gout treatment, its causes, and options for state-of-the-art care.
What are gout symptoms? What about pseudogout?
Both gout and its pretender, pseudogout, cause painful, inflamed, stiff joints in the fingers, knees, and wrists — and in gout, a throbbing big toe is a hallmark symptom. Sometimes symptoms can become so severe that they disturb sleep.
Although gout and pseudogout are types of inflammatory arthritis, that is where the similarity ends. Gout affects millions of people and occurs when the body produces too much uric acid, or it can’t handle the uric acid produced. This results in uric acid crystals forming in the joints or kidneys.
Pseudogout is a rare condition where, for unknown reasons, calcium pyrophosphate crystals form in the joints and surrounding tissues.
What triggers a gout attack? How about pseudogout?
Everyday triggers for a gout attack include a joint injury, obesity, an infection, drinking too much alcohol (especially wine), or even eating meat or shellfish. These specific foods are naturally high in compounds called purines. These purines break down into uric acid.
Individuals with a family history of gout, kidney disease, or an organ transplant are also at a higher risk of developing this disease.
Pseudogout is a condition that primarily affects older individuals. It’s not understood what actually triggers an attack, but factors such as family history, excess iron or low magnesium blood levels, and an under-active thyroid are some predisposing factors for developing pseudogout.
How to get an accurate diagnosis?
Your rheumatologist has the experience to differentiate between gout and pseudogout. Diagnosis starts with a medical history and physical examination, and a usual work-up involves some imaging tests (like an X-Ray or Ultrasound). Blood tests that reveal high levels of uric acid in the body, and in the fluid of an affected joint indicate grout.
If pseudogout is suspected, your rheumatologist can examine fluid from an affected joint to determine if calcium pyrophosphate crystals are present and confirm a diagnosis.
How are gout and pseudogout treated?
Treatment for both gout and pseudogout focuses on reducing inflammation and pain as well as preventing joint damage. The American College of Rheumatology has developed a list of dietary recommendations as well as exercise guidelines to help increase your likelihood of success in your gout treatment. Your rheumatologist may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, along with other medications based on your specific clinical needs and the severity of symptoms.
If you have battled gout for a while without success, consultation with a rheumatologist is usually the first step in turning things around. In moderate to severe cases of gout, maintenance medications can help to prevent sudden occurrences of gout symptoms.
Get Expert Gout Treatment Today
Whether you need gout treatment, management of osteoarthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis treatment, our team at Arthritis, Rheumatic & Back Disease Associates offers patients advanced treatment and highly compassionate care. We have offices throughout New Jersey, so make an appointment with us today!
*Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD)