Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria Linked to Obesity, High BMI

October 9, 2020
Jonathan Alicea

Jonathan Alicea is an assistant editor for HCPLive. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree with English and minors in Linguistics and Theater. He spends his free time writing plays, playing PlayStation, enjoying the company of his 2 pugs, and navigating a right-handed world as a lefty. You can email him at

About 69% of patients with CIU were either obese or overweight, and experienced a longer duration of disease than those who had lower weight values.

Findings from a new study showed that the incidence of chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU) was relatively high among patients who were obese or overweight.

Previous studies have suggested a link between excessive body weight and the development of allergic diseases, yet there has been limited research that demonstrate associations between obesity and chronic idiopathic urticaria.

This fill this gap, investigators from Birat Medical College and Teaching Hospital conducted a quantitative cross-sectional study that calculated mean body weight, body height, BMI, age of disease onset, and duration of disease for patients with CIU.

Overall, they assessed a total of 151 cases, with ages ranging from 18-77 years. Among the population, 97 were females. BMI ranged from 16.7 to 34.2, with a mean of 24.3.

The average weight was 77.5 kg (171 lbs), with the lowest being 47 kg (104 lbs) and the highest being 108 kg (238 lbs).

Furthermore, the investigators noted the heights of the participants—which ranged between 4 feet 9 inches and 6 feet 3 inches.

Thus, a total of 104 (69%) patients were found to be overweight. The average duration of disease among this subpopulation was 39 weeks—as compared to only 12 weeks among those who were underweight and normal weight.

According to the investigators, these findings appeared to be consistent with prior evidence that demonstrate obesity is associated with chronic low grade inflammation.

As a result, a person with obesity experiences decreased immune tolerance to antigens, which increases the chances of allergies and other immune diseases.

Additionally, the results revealed that CIU was more prevalent in females in comparison to males (64% versus 36%, respectively). The investigators postulated that this may be a result of hormones playing a significant role in the patho-physiology of the condition.

“The result of our study is in accordance with few other studies done in other parts of world and reveals that there is in fact an increased prevalence of CIU among the obese patients and patients with high BMI,” the investigators said.

In terms of next steps for the study, they recommended that similar large scale comparative studies be conducted so as to validate this association between CIU and obesity.

They suggested that therapeutic interventions should be based on thorough clinical examinations with an individually selected panel of diagnostic tests.

“However, in most of the cases, it is very difficult to determine the cause of urticaria symptoms, so the treatment should be initiated based on modern anhistaminic therapy that may be supplemented with alternative therapies like weight reduction or treatment of dyslipidemias,” they concluded.

The study, “Association of Obesity with Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria at Birat Medical College and Teaching Hospital,” was published online in Birat Journal of Health Sciences.