Literally means “pretend gout,” because it looks like Gout, which was recognized first & is more famous. Nonetheless, Pseudogout is a real disease causing arthritis. It occurs because calcium crystals form in joints (in gout, it’s uric acid crystals). As with most similar diseases, it’s “idiopathic,” meaning nobody knows why it happens. Pseudogout is also called calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition disease (CPPD), Chondrocalcinosis, or Pyrophosphate Arthropathy.
Pseudogout usually begins after age 60. Most people have no symptoms, but their joints can gradually be destroyed, leading to Osteoarthritis. Sometimes people have attacks of joint pain and swelling, like gout. But in Pseudogout it’s mainly the knee that’s affected, not the big toe (Gout can also affect the knee).
Diagnosis is made by aspirating joint fluid, examining it under a special microscope, and not finding gout. Sometimes calcium crystals can be seen, clinching the diagnosis, but sometimes they’re too small to notice. X-ray helps a lot, because we can see cartilage becoming calcified. The main issue is to rule out other types of arthritis.
Pseudogout does not affect the kidneys the way gout can. Treatment is the same as for Osteoarthritis: pain control, and eventually knee replacement surgery when the pain is too much.