This list of 4 comparisons—broken down by symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment and prevention—can help you understand the similarities and differences between the disorders.
Same: Both gout and pseudogout cause sudden, severe pain in one joint with little to no warning. The attacks can even be mistaken for life-threatening.
Different: Gout and pseudogout affect different joints. Half of all gout cases are in the big toe, and other common sites include the heel, fingertips, or wrist. Pseudogout most frequently affects the knee. It can also appear in the ankle, wrist, shoulder, or even hip.
Same: They're both caused by too much of a certain substance in the body, which crystallizes in a joint and causes pain.
Different: The problem-causing substances are different. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid. Pseudogout results from excessive calcium pyrophosphate, which is why some doctors refer to it as calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD).
Same: Age, genetics, and previous injury in the affected joint are risk factors for both. Most initial gout episodes happen between ages 30 and 50; most people are diagnosed with pseudogout in their 60s. Risk is also greater for gout and pseudogout if you have a family history or have previously injured the affected joint.
Different: Gender and ethnicity affect risk for gout, but not for pseudogout. Men are more likely to have gout than women, and African-American men have greater gout risk than Caucasian men.
Treatment and prevention
Same: Both conditions are treated in the same manner: The pain of immediate attacks is relieved with rest, ice, and pain medications, and longer term solutions can include cortisone injections or possibly surgery.
Different: Gout attacks may be preventable with lifestyle changes, but pseudogout attacks aren't. To prevent a gout attack, people can avoid purines, which are found in alcohol, meats, fish, beans, and certain vegetables like asparagus and spinach. Weight loss and prescription medications may also help prevent gout attacks.