If you're having problems with one or more of your joints, then your doctor may have eliminated some conditions, leaving others in the mix like gout. Your doctor may think that you might be suffering from either regular gout or pseudogout but isn't exactly sure which condition you have.
What's the difference between the two?
Gout and Pseudogout Similarities
Both gout and pseudogout are types of arthritis. These conditions typically affect the body's joints. People usually have attacks of gout that last for a specific length of time but that then clear up. However, this may happen repeatedly in the future. Both types of gout have similar symptoms.
For example, any kind of gout can make a joint very painful. The joint hurts when you try to use it and, sometimes, even when you just touch it. Often, a joint will swell when you have a gout attack. The skin around the area may look red and it may feel warmer than usual.
Gout and Pseudogout Differences
While gout and pseudogout are similar in some ways, these conditions have slightly different causes. In both cases, your pain and problems are caused by crystal deposits that settle around a joint. Regular gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in your system. This excess acid turns into urate crystals. Pseudogout is caused by a build-up of calcium. This type of gout deposits calcium crystals instead.
You can also sometimes differentiate between the two types by the joints they affect. For example, standard gout most often affects the joint at the bottom of a big toe. It can sometimes be found in other joints in the body, but the toe is most commonly affected. While pseudogout can also affect any joint, you're more likely to have problems with this kind of gout in your knee or wrist joints. These tend to be the most common pseudogout locations.
Gout and Pseudogout Diagnosis
Gout and pseudogout may need slightly different treatments. So, if your doctor thinks you may have a form of gout, they may want to run tests to try to establish what kind you have.
There are various tests you may need in this situation. For example, your doctor may want you to have an x-ray or ultrasound. Gout is also often diagnosed by a fluid test. This involves taking some fluid out of the affected area and analysing it to see if it contains crystals and, if so, what kind they are.
To find out more about any tests you may need, talk to a doctor.