Porphyria is a rare disorder that can involve multiple body systems. Those who have this disorder can have severe symptoms that require intensive treatment, whereas others may never know they have it. In this article, we will cover not only the symptoms and causes of porphyria but also the risk factors, types of porphyria, complications, and treatments of this disease.
So if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with porphyria, keep reading to learn more about this disease and how it can affect almost every aspect of a patient’s life.
What is Porphyria?
Porphyria is a group of eight rare disorders that affect the nervous system or skin. Each one of the eight types of porphyria is significantly different, but “a common feature in all porphyria’s is the accumulation in the body of porphyrins or porphyrin precursors [in the body]” says the American Porphyria Foundation. Porphyrins and porphyrin precursors are chemicals in the body that change into heme, which is what makes blood look red. When these two chemicals build up within the body, they cause you to become sick.
Thankfully, porphyria is a rare disorder, and according to the National Institute for Health (NIH) it affects less than 200,000 people in the United States. Some people can live with the disorder and have no symptoms, so the numbers may be higher.