Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream (hyperuricemia). When your body produces too much uric acid or--more likely--doesn't excrete enough uric acid in your urine, crystals can form in the joints. These uric acid crystals, called monosodium urate (MSU), lead to gout attack symptoms like pain and inflammation.
What causes hyperuricemia? Diets high in alcohol, fruit sugar (fructose), and purine-rich meat (like organ meat and seafood) can contribute to high uric acid levels in the body, but research shows that genetics and obesity tend to be the biggest risk factors.