If not enough uric acid is excreted (a function of the kidneys) it can build up in the bloodstream and cause hyperuricemia. Some people, but not all, who have hyperuricemia will develop gout. In people with gout, uric acid leaves the bloodstream and travels to joints. The deposits of uric acid can intermittently form needle-shaped crystals, which set off an inflammatory response by the body. The result is a red, hot and swollen joint of a gout attack.