Crystal Deposition Disease

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Crystal Deposition Disease or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate, occurs when these crystals collect in joints and the tissues surrounding the joints. The calcium deposits induce inflammation in the joint, which can cause cartilage within the joint to break down. The disease can take a few different arthritis-related forms:

......Acute arthritis often called pseudogout
......Chronic rheumatoid arthritis-like inflammatory arthritis

Pseudogout occurs in about one-quarter of all CPPD cases and an osteoarthritis-like disease occurs in about half of all cases. However, many people with CPPD crystal deposits have no joint symptoms at all.

Women and men get the disease equally, and its frequency dramatically increases with age.

Although there is no cure for CPPD deposition or pseudogout attacks, medications can relieve the pain and stiffness associated with the disease. Surgery can restore function and relieve pain in seriously affected joints.


    Acute, subacute, or chronic arthritis can occur, usually in the knee or other large peripheral joints, which can mimic many other forms of arthritis. Attacks are sometimes similar to gout but are usually less severe. There may be no symptoms between attacks or continuous low-grade symptoms in multiple joints, similar to RA or osteoarthritis. These patterns tend to persist for life.
Crystal deposition disease is caused by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals in a joint, which weaken the cartilage and cause it to break down more easily. The presence of these tiny CPPD crystals in the joints, and the body's reaction to these crystals, creates inflammation to attack the crystals. It is not known why the body forms these crystals, but may be an abnormality in the cartilage cells or connective tissue. The cause also may be a genetic tendency.
    What Are the Effects?
    The movement of the CPPD crystals into joints can cause sudden and severe pain in the joint. Inflammation may occur causing redness, warmth and swelling of the joint. Over time, damage may be done to the cartilage (which acts as a cushion between bones) allowing bone to rub against bone.
    How Is It Diagnosed?
  • Detailed medical history
  • Joint aspiration to check for crystals
  • Joint X-rays to show crystals
  • Blood tests to rule out other diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis


  • Exercise
  • Medications: NSAIDs, Corticosteroids, Colchicine
  • Rest
  • Removing fluid and crystals
  • Surgery (sometimes)

  • ....

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