Hydroxyapatite Crystal Disease

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Hydroxyapatite crystal disease fact

  • Hydroxyapatite is an essential mineral of normal bone.
  • Crystals of hydroxyapatite deposited in and about the joints cause inflammation.
  • Inflammation and pain are part of hydroxyapatite crystal disease.
  • This disease is distinct and different from gout and pseudogout.
  • Treatment includes measures to reduce inflammation and pain.

What is hydroxyapatite?

Hydroxyapatite is the major component, and an essential ingredient, of normal bone and teeth. It is hydroxyapatite that makes up bone mineral and the matrix of teeth.

What are hydroxyapatite crystals?

Hydroxyapatite molecules can group together (crystallize) to form microscopic clumps, called hydroxyapatite crystals.

Tiny crystals of hydroxyapatite sometimes form in or around joints and can cause inflammation of joints and tissues around the joints, such as tendons and ligaments. They have been described particularly as a cause of rotator cuff inflammation of the shoulder.

The inflammation caused by hydroxyapatite crystals has been referred to as hydroxyapatite crystal disease.

Is hydroxyapatite crystal disease the same as gout or pseudogout?

No. These conditions are similar in that they are all caused by the inflammation that results from the body's reaction to crystals. However, hydroxyapatite crystals are distinctly different from the crystals of pseudogout or gout. While hydroxyapatite crystals can sometimes also be found in the company of the calcium pyrophosphate crystals characteristic of pseudogout, these are quite different types of crystals.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/14/2014

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