CSU – understanding the issues

Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU)

You may not be familiar with the name, but you may recognise the red, itchy hives (a form of rash, also known as wheals or welts). These hives appear without warning, last at least six weeks and can suddenly reappear after having cleared.1-3

CSU patients can feel weak, in pain and can experience a loss of control over their lives.3 We believe that no one should have to suffer in their skin - our goal is to help people with CSU be truly comfortable in the skin they live in.

Not just itchy skin

Everyone’s skin is different and so everyone’s experience of CSU is different. People with CSU often experience:

Hives1-3

  • Raised, red and itchy skin
  • Most people with CSU will have outbreaks of hives
  • Outbreaks last at least six weeks and can come back

swelling (angioedema)

  • Sudden, and sometimes painful, swelling (angioedema)4
  • Many people with CSU (33–67%) suffer from swelling (angioedema) alongside their hives3
  • The eyelids and lips are the most commonly affected areas of the body4
  • The swelling (angioedema) usually goes down within 72 hours4

CSU is not an allergy

Unlike other conditions with hives, CSU has no known trigger. It is not an allergy, and if you suffer from it, it is not your fault. But the lack of a clear cause means that even during periods of clear skin the threat of a sudden outbreak hangs over people with CSU. It’s not only during the bad days that CSU can be an emotionally demanding condition.3

This is just one of the reasons why it is so important that we continue our research in this area and encourage others to take a new look at skin conditions.

References

  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) website. “Chronic Urticaria (Hives)." Accessed November 14, 2012. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=23&cont=328
  2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) website. “Skin Allergy Overview." Accessed November 14, 2012. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/skin-allergy.aspx
  3. Maurer M et al. Allergy 2011; 66: 317–330.
  4. Axelrod S, Davis-Lorton M. Mt Sinai J Med 2011; 78: 784-802.

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