Gout, also known as gouty arthritis, is a painful form of arthritis. Gout is common, often causing swollen joints and stiffness. It is often characterized by redness at the affected area. Gout attacks occur as a result of excess uric acid levels in the body. Uric acid is produced as a byproduct of digestion of certain foods. Under normal conditions, uric acid will remain dissolved in the blood, and filter through the kidneys and excreted in urine. In persons with gout, uric acid will sometimes precipitate into fine needle-like crystals in the joints. When this occurs, it can cause painful and debilitating attacks lasting for days or weeks if not properly treated.