Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: Is taking calcium a problem if you have pseudogout?

Q. I've been diagnosed with pseudogout, which I understand is caused by a buildup of calcium crystals in the joints. Should I be concerned about taking a calcium supplement?

A. Pseudogout is a type of inflammatory arthritis characterized by sudden attacks of pain and swelling in the joints. It closely resembles gout, hence the name. But gout usually affects a big toe, and pseudogout usually affects the knee, though both conditions can affect other joints as well. Gout is caused by sodium urate crystals, and pseudogout is caused by crystals of calcium salts — calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate, or CPPD.

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