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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
Become pro-active: One of my study cases with the medical students involves an unfortunate woman whose illness was missed and was given Phenobarbital for her "nerves", with lethal results. Learn what medications and stressors to avoid. Stay fit. Good hydration and perhaps a sugary drink may help if you can sense an attack coming up; your physician will know whether to offer hematin. Best wishes. ...Read more
Avoid triggers: Glucose and hematin work so-so for the acute attacks; the key to managing this treacherous illness (after making the diagnosis) is to learn what triggers the attacks and to avoid it. Sometime as simple as an old-fashioned barbiturate "to relax" can be deadly. Truly undestand the process and life can be enjoyed fully. ...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
Depends on the type: There are 8 different kinds of porphyria. Depending on the type of porphyria, an attack can be precipitated by sunlight exposure, alcohol, inadequate diet, carbohydrate restriction, certain drugs or chemicals, hormonal changes & stress. Often a combination of triggers can precipate an attack. For more info, see the porphyria foundation's website: http://www.Porphyriafoundation.Com/about-porphyria. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Possibly: Porphyria symptoms can include depression, confusion, hallucinations & delusions. These symptoms are most likely to occur during an acute attack. Other symptoms that one may experience during an attack could also affect thinking & memory. For examply, nausea & pain may decrease one's ability to concentrate, thereby affecting memory & attention span. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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