Frequency and distribution of urticaria
Urticaria – a woman's disease? Almost all studies into the matter have ascertained that women are more likely than men to suffer from urticaria. For chronic urticaria, the ratio (women to men) has even been pegged at 2:1. Interestingly, this ratio does not hold true for children, i.e. girls suffer from the condition roughly as frequently as boys. Why grown women develop chronic urticaria in higher numbers then post-pubescent men remains unknown. It may reflect that this form of hives often takes a more serious course with women, lasts longer, or that women are more inclined or prepared to consult a doctor regarding their ailments. It is also interesting that men are more frequently affected by the physical forms of urticaria, such as pressure urticaria; perhaps because the symptoms associated with this involve particularly strenuous physical activity and are perceived as disruptive.
Age and geographic distribution. Urticaria can appear at any age, from infancy to old age. The most common age group is the 30-to-50-year-old bracket. First-time occurrences rarely occur after 70 years of age. By contrast, hives that last only a few days are not uncommon in newborns.
In terms of global distribution of hives, the disease has shown itself as not particularly choosy: urticaria is known on all continents of the earth.
Numbers and facts involving urticaria. Urticaria is a particularly common disease. It is estimated that one in four people experiences urticaria at least once in their lives. This generally involves acute urticaria. Conservative estimates hold that 1.3% of Europeans currently suffer from chronic urticaria. Urticaria patients represent 3% of all dermatological patients.
Data on average lengths of the disease are rare and contradictory (urticaria is a very erratic disease), and furthermore the duration is strongly affected by the type of urticaria as well. Individualised predictions are impossible, and spontaneous recoveries are relatively common.