The second episode of the podcast series on chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), produced in collaboration with The Itch Podcast, explores the complexities of diagnosing CSU. The episode covers the roles of allergists and dermatologists and the steps involved in ruling out other conditions that could be causing hives.

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We thank Novartis for sponsoring this episode.


What to Know About Diagnosing Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria

Join Dr. Payel Gupta and Kortney as they explain how doctors diagnose CSU. Dr. Gupta walks us through how a CSU diagnosis involves ruling out other conditions through a detailed patient history and physical exams. She also shares what other conditions would be considered when seeing hives, such as Mast Cell Disease or autoimmune disorders.

Dr. Gupta also explains the tests that may be used in the process of a CSU diagnosis and highlights the issues with over-testing for food allergies. Additionally, they explore the link between autoimmune diseases and CSU.


Here’s what you’ll take away from this episode on diagnosing chronic spontaneous urticaria:

A better understanding of how doctors identify CSU by ruling out other causes of hives. Learn why a detailed medical history is crucial and how it guides the doctor’s decisions on necessary tests. Plus learn why doctors want to avoid over-testing and unnecessary dietary restrictions is important.

Podcast Timestamps for YouTube Video:

00:45 – Differentiating hives and swelling as a result of an allergic reaction or CSU

05:15 – Which specialist to choose for CSU diagnosis

07:08 – Consulting a dermatologist for a skin biopsy

08:50 – Diagnosing CSU: patient history and complete review of systems

11:35 – Identifying true hives: blanchable rash

14:10 – Summary of blanchable rashes

15:00 – Vasculitis: another disease that looks like hives

17:15 – Other conditions with hives as a symptom: Mast Cell Disease, autoimmune conditions

19:28 – Autoimmune disorders linked to CSU

21:20 – Tests for CSU diagnosis, including physical tests

22:46 – Food allergy testing

25:00 – False positives in food allergy testing

26:00 – Understanding a food allergy panel

27:47 – Environmental allergy testing

29:00 – Other blood tests

30:44 – Ensuring general healthcare maintenance

32:00 – Importance of not over-testing

33:00 – The timeframe for a CSU diagnosis

34:00 – Seeing a specialist who is familiar with urticaria


Additional Resources for Chronic Urticaria