Gout is caused by too much uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). The exact cause of hyperuricemia sometimes isn’t known, although inherited factors (genes) seem to play a role.
Uric acid may form crystals that build up in the joints. This causes the pain and other symptoms.
Gout can seem to flare up without specific cause. Or it can be brought on by:
- Certain conditions related to diet and body weight, such as being overweight, eating a diet rich in meat and seafood (high-purine foods), and drinking too much alcohol.
- Medicines that may increase uric acid concentration, such as regular use of aspirin or niacin or using medicines that reduce the amount of salt and water in the body (diuretics).
- Major illness or certain medical conditions, such as rapid weight loss or high blood pressure.
- Having been born with a rare condition that causes high blood uric acid levels. People with Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome have a partial or complete deficiency in an enzyme that helps to control uric acid levels.