The two most common forms of crystal-induced arthritis among older adults are gout and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) deposition disease. Gout in older adults has unique clinical features. The new case incidence is the same in males and females over age 60. Upper limb and polyarticular involvement are not unusual. CPPD deposition disease may present as asymptomatic chondrocalcinosis on radiographs and symptomatically as pseudogout, pseudo–rheumatoid arthritis, or pseudo-osteoarthritis. Other crystals may cause periarthritis or arthritis. Management of crystal-induced arthritis among older adults requires special considerations due to comorbid conditions and concomitant medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be contraindicated. Steroids taken either orally or intra-articularly are often an alternative.
Key words: gout, chondrocalcinosis, pseudogout, pseudo–rheumatoid arthritis, pseudo-osteoarthritis.
Ian K. Tsang, MB, FRCPC, Clinical Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
Gout is more prevalent in older adults than middle-age adults, and it affects women almost as commonly as men. An important clinical consideration regarding gout is that while hyperuricemia is commonly associated with gouty arthritis, a diagnosis of asymptomatic hyperuricemia does not generally require treatment. In addition, the clinical presentation and course of gout in older patients differ from the typical cases of middle-aged patients. Moreover, older gout patients present a challenge for physicians who manage them because of the high incidence of comorbid conditions and the likely occurrence of reduced renal function among this age group. This article reviews the diagnosis and management of asymptomatic hyperuricemia and gout in the older adult.
Key words: gout, hyperuricemia, NSAID, allopurinol, arthritis.
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