Doctor insights on:
Do Men And Women Both Have Porphyria
The porphyrias are metabolic disorders caused by abnormalities in the synthesis of heme, the portion of hemoglobin which carries the iron inside red blood cells. The manifestations of porphyria vary considerably depending on the mutation involved, ranging from light sensitivity to liver failure to nerve damage to bouts of terrible pain. Special testing is required to ...Read more
Disease family: Maybe 1 person in 1000 is born with a strong tendency to porphyria cutanea tarda and some forms of hepatitis can bring it out even in a normal person; it blisters and scars sun-exposed skin. Other porphyrias masquerade as abdominal pain, mental illness, constipation, low sodium, and chronic nerve pain -- and screening tests are often done wrong. Good luck. ...Read more
Inherited: Typically inherited problem in the breakdown of red blood cells, in particular heme. The abdominal pain and crises can be set off by medications, alcohol, or low calorie diets. Medications that cause include but are not limited to barbiturates, anticonvulsants, estrogens, oral contraceptives, or even supplements (chromium for example). ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Porphyria results…: From lack of an enzyme in the path for making heme, the oxygen-carrying part of blood. There are many triggers for attacks:alcohol; smoking; drugs (barbiturates, sulfa antibiotics) phenytoin; progesterone; sun exposure; increased iron intake; chronic viral illness (hcv, hiv); stress (illness, emotional/ psycho-logical, physical); dieting/fasting. http://www.porphyriafoundation.com/ for more info. ...Read more
Very challenging: Porphyrias are life-long diseases with symptoms that come and go. Some forms of the disease cause more symptoms than others. Proper treatment and avoidance of triggers can help prolong the time between attacks. But attacks are quite painful and can be fatal. Life is a real struggle for someone with porphyria but it is possible to even do great things - some historical figures have suffered it. ...Read more
See below: Porphyrias involve three major symptoms: •abdominal pain or cramping (only in some forms of the disease) •light sensitivity causing rashes, blistering, and scarring of the skin (photodermatitis) •problems with the nervous system and muscles (seizures, mental disturbances, nerve damage). ...Read more
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