Gout has been described as a form of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood, damaging, joints, tendons, and other tissues. It can cause burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint (usually a big toe), and attacks can happen over and over unless it is treated. It is different from "pseudo gout" in that it is not a symptom of a deadly genetic disease, as is the case with the "pseudo gout" of hemochromatosis.
Very often if people are overweight, drink too much alcohol, or eat too much meat and fish that are high in chemicals called purines, this can result in a flare-up, but mercifully such attacks can also be few and far between. Most of the time, having too much uric acid is not harmful. On the other hand, too much iron, which causes hemochromatosis, is potentially fatal. The agony of pseudo gout is not only excruciating; it is a red flag for that disorder.
The Number One Inherited Disorder
As I have explained in previous articles on the subject, hemochromatosis is the number one genetic disorder while, paradoxically, it is also the one that is most often dismissed as "rare." Because it so often goes unrecognized, it is seldom diagnosed before it is clinically manifest. Most of the suffering associated with the disease is preventable if potential victims are detected in time; even when it has become symptomatic, many serious complications are reversible, but only by timely diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms vary, but many hemochromatotics experience chronic fatigue, severe abdominal pain, bouts of nausea, diminished memory, and disorientation for many years before diagnosis. In later years, there could be some degree of hearing loss.However, I have, for years, been campaigning for the prompt recognition of chondrocalcinosis (also known as "pseudo gout") to be recognized as one of the most prominent symptoms. In my book The Bronze Killer I have described how my husband’s aching hands would lock on the steering wheel of the car, and also describe a segment from a TV interview with the CBC in which he — once thought to be possibly the best jazz mandolin player in the world — had been handicapped by the crippling of those once agile hands.
At Last This Is Being Taken Seriously!
In a recent report by A.E. Timms and colleagues published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and and titled "Genetic testing for haemochromatosis in patients with chondrocalcinosis," the authors write that "...Given the early mortality associated with untreated haemochromatosis ... routine screening for haemochromatosis in patients with appreciable chondrocalcinosis is recommended."