The basic cause of gout is an elevated uric acid level in the blood, which allows for the formation of urate crystals in a person's joints, Mayo Clinic states. The body excretes uric acid via the kidneys, so elevated blood levels indicate either insufficient kidney function or excess uric acid creation in the body. Many different factors increase the risk of gout, including obesity, certain medications, being male, certain medical conditions and the consumption of certain foods.
The body forms uric acid when it breaks down purines, compounds that are present in foods such as seafoods and organ meats, explains Mayo Clinic. Eating large amounts of these foods can elevate uric acid levels, as can the consumption of fructose, a common sweetener for beverages, and the consumption of alcoholic beverages, particularly beer. Medications that can elevate uric acid levels include low-dose aspirin regimens and certain diuretics. Medical conditions that increase the risk of gout include physical trauma, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease.
Gout is a painful type of arthritis, and once it occurs, complications can develop, according to Mayo Clinic. Advanced gout can cause uric acid crystals to form under the skin as well as in the joints. Uric acid kidney stones can occur. Gout can become recurring and afflict a person several times a year.