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Is There a Diet to Help Control Pseudogout?

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Updated April 16, 2014

Question: Is There a Diet to Help Control Pseudogout?
From a reader, "I was recently diagnosed with pseudogout and it seems there is a plethora of info about gout diets, foods to avoid and such. I can't seem to find anything about a pseudogout diet and foods to avoid for this problem. What should I be doing and does a special diet help pseudogout?"
Answer: Pseudogout is so similar in name to gout, it's not uncommon for patients to think the two conditions are very much alike. It's fairly well-known that people with gout are advised against eating foods that are high in purines. But what about pseudogout? Does watching your diet help pseudogout?

We asked rheumatolgist Scott J. Zashin, M.D., and he said, "Pseudogout is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of a crystal, calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD). Why some people develop pseudogout is unknown, but there may be a genetic predispostion in some families. It may also occur secondary to osteoarthritis and is more common in older patients."

Zashin continued, "Interestingly, pseudgout can be associated with other conditions such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), overproduction of iron (hemochromatosis) and calcium disorders (hyperparathyroidism). Unfortunately, unlike a more common type of crystal disease, gout (caused by uric acid overproduction or decreased excretion), there is no diet that is helpful in controlling pseudogout."

"Patients may develop intermittent flare ups or be bothered by persistent discomfort that mimics rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Over time, accumulation of the crystals may predispose patients to osteoarthritis. Treatment is based on treating the flares with NSAIDS, corticosteroids and colchicine. If infection is not suspected in an affected joint, a steroid injection may be given. If attacks occur often, NSAIDS or colchicine may be given a a routine basis. In those patients with persistent pseudogout that resembles RA, methotrexate has shown benefit," according to Dr. Zashin.

Dr. Zashin is clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of TNF Blockers. The book is useful for anyone on one of the biologic drugs or considering the biologic drugs.

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