What Are the Types of Gout?

types of gout

Story at-a-glance -

  • Gout can be divided into two types, namely tophaceous gout and pseudogout
  • Tophaceous gout (or chronic tophaceous gout) occurs when gout attacks or flare-ups become more frequent at short intervals, without resolving the inflammation during this period
  • pseudogout (or calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease [CPPD]) is a type of arthritis wherein one or more joints are affected with excruciating swelling, in episodes that last for days or even weeks

Gout can be divided into two types, namely tophaceous gout and pseudogout. While there are characteristics that make these diseases seem similar to each other, further inspection proves that there are differences between the two.

Tophaceous gout (or chronic tophaceous gout) occurs when patients develop gout attacks or flare-ups between short periods of time, usually alongside inflammation.1 This type of gout results in the formation of tophi, or lumps of white2 uric acid crystals in the body, particularly in places where soft tissues are present.3 Elderly women are more prone to this condition.4 However, people who have had an organ transplant and/or are taking cyclosporine may be predisposed to tophaceous gout too.5

On the other hand, pseudogout (or calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease [CPPD]) is a form of arthritis characterized by sudden gout attacks or flare-ups and/or swelling in one or more joints. Patients who have pseudogout often experience pain for days or even weeks.6 This similarity with gout is why it’s called “false gout.” Apart from the pain-causing crystals (which will be discussed further), certain factors can predispose you to a higher chance of having pseudogout, namely:7

Old age

Dehydration

Hyperparathyroidism

Gout

Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis)

Is There a Difference Between These Two Types of Gout?

A major difference between these two diseases lies in the type of crystal that’s seen in the joints. Tophi that are made of uric acid are found among tophaceous gout patients,8 but for people with pseudogout these crystals form because of calcium pyrophosphate. To determine the type of crystal that develops in your joints, as well as the condition you or someone you know is experiencing, samples of crystal containing joint fluid may be viewed by a professional under a microscope.9

The discomfort that results from these diseases also varies in terms of severity. When it comes to tophaceous gout, the aching in your joints tends to be more severe since there may already be significant joint damage. Your kidneys may even be affected as well.10 This isn’t to say that pseudogout is less harmful, however. You’ll still feel pain because of gout attacks, but it may not be as debilitating.

Still, Watch Out for Painful Joint Crystals

What both tophaceous gout and pseudogout do have in common are the areas of the body that will be most affected — the joints. Tophi common in tophaceous gout are found around your fingers and your big toe, forearms,11 tips of elbows, ears and vocal chords.12 Meanwhile, your knees, ankles, wrists, shoulders and hips are the major points where pseudogout can strike.13

There are rare cases wherein tophi are spotted around the spinal cord14 and the heart,15 while there have also been reports of tophi resembling crab eyes piercing through the skin.16 Although tophi are typically painless,17 they can cause discomfort and stiffness in the affected joints in your hands and/or feet. If not addressed, these crystals may disrupt proper bone and cartilage function and possibly lead to joint damage18 and/or deformities.19

MORE ABOUT GOUT

Gout: Introduction

What Is Gout?

Gout Causes

Gout Types

Gout Symptoms

Gout Treatment

Gout Prevention

Gout Diet

Gout FAQ

< Previous

Gout Causes

Next >

Gout Symptoms

Post your comment