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Diseases > Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disorder (CPPD) > What is it going to do to me?

What are the Signs and Symptoms of CPPD?

CPPD can look like a different disease in different people. The symptoms of CPPD depend on the arthritic disease it mimics.

The most common form of CPPD is calcification of tendons and other structures around joints. This is often found on a routine x-ray of a joint. Calcified structures are most commonly found in the wrists, shoulders, knees, pelvis, and feet.

Another form of CPPD is pseudogout. In this presentation the calcium pyrophosphate crystals form inside the joint. The immune system realizes these crystals are not normal and mounts an attack. The result is a hot, intensely painful, red, swollen joint. It may seem like the joint is infected or that it is an attack of gout. But if calcium pyrophosphate crystals are present, it’s CPPD.

CPPD is often found in and around joints typically affected by osteoarthritis. This is very common in the knees. CPPD should be considered when osteoarthritic changes are seen in joints not usually affected by osteoarthritis such as the shoulder or elbows.

When CPPD mimics rheumatoid arthritis (RA) it causes swelling of the metacarpophalangeal joint (knuckle joints). Symptoms include stiff, swollen hands. The x-rays don’t show changes typical for rheumatoid arthritis they look more like osteoarthritis. People with this type of CPPD rarely have high levels of iron in their blood (hemochromoatosis).

Work and CPPD

Your ability to work will depend on the severity of your symptoms and your job. If you do physical work, CPPD can make things difficult and may interfere with your ability to do your job job. The good news is that once your symptoms are under control, there is hope that you can resume your work.

Travel and CPPD

Traveling is possible when you have CPPD, if you feel up to it. CPPD is a disease that can flare up at any time. Before going on any trip, always check with your doctor and pack extra medication if required. See our travel checklist for extra tips.

Sex and CPPD

CPPD does not affect sexual function or sex drive. It can cause pain, discomfort and emotional hardships. This can create barriers to sexual needs, ability and satisfaction. Take comfort knowing that sex and intimacy can be maintained in people with CPPD … it can even draw partners closer together.

For more information on intimacy, a great book is Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan to Win by Sheryl Koehn, Taysha Palmer and John Esdaile. Many of the tips in this book can also be applied to people with CPPD.

Pregnancy and CPPD

CPPD typically affects individuals over the age of 50 so pregnancy is not usually a concern. If you have been diagnosed with CPPD and want to get pregnant, it is very important to discuss this first with your doctor.

Read more – What can I do about it?