What is it ?
Joint chondrocalcinosis is an aging-related condition that is characterized by an accumulation of calcium microcrystals in the joints. It belongs to the group of microcrystalline rheumatism and has long been called pseudo-gout, their symptoms being very close, although the microcrystals involved are not of the same nature. Chondrocalcinosis can cause very painful episodes of inflammation or chronic pain. In the absence of treatment, damage to the joints can lead to significant disability. Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce inflammation and pain but there is no cure. The prevalence of joint chondrocalcinosis increases with age and may exceed 30% of the population over 75 years of age.
Symptoms of Chondrocalcinosis articular
Symptoms of chondrocalcinosis include: pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint . The knee is most commonly touched, followed by the wrist, hand (at the metacarpophalangeal joint), hips, shoulders, and ankle joints. Joint pain and symptoms are close to those of gout and other types of arthritis. The diagnosis is confirmed by microscopic observation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joint fluid. The symptoms of chondrocalcinosis occur during acute attacks lasting from several days to several weeks and / or chronically. But it should be noted that the pathology may be quite asymptomatic.
The origins of the disease
Articular chondrocalcinosis develops with the accumulation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in joint tissues (hyaline cartilage and fibrocartilage), damaging the cartilage and causing inflammation, pain and swelling. Note that gout is characterized by sodium urate crystal (UMS) deposits. The cause of this crystalline accumulation is unknown to this day. Hereditary articular chondrocalcinosis exists, but it is extremely rare, with a hundred affected families having been identified to date.
Chondrocalcinosis is correlated with age, the risk of developing the pathology increasing with it. This pathology of aging is rare in young individuals and then associated with a metabolic disease. Its prevalence is 10 to 15% between 65 and 75 years and more than 30% beyond. According to a Korean study, nearly half of individuals in their ninth decade are affected by chondrocalcinosis. Women are more exposed than men. But other risk factors have been identified: hemochromatosis (excessive storage of iron in the body), hypomagnesemia (deficiency of magnesium in the blood), hyperparathyroidism (excessive production of parathyroid hormone), hypothyroidism and hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood).
Prevention and treatment of Chondrocalcinosis articular
No treatment is available to dissolve crystalline deposits in the joints. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), however, minimize pain and swelling during acute chondrocalcinosis attacks. Colchicine used in the treatment of gout is also sometimes prescribed to prevent such access. The doctor can also use the intra-articular injection of a corticosteroid, after drainage of the joint fluid, to relieve the patient. Surgery may be decided to repair or replace a joint severely affected by a chondrocalcinoschronique and very debilitating for the patient.