Advertisement

What are the symptoms of porphyria?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Symptoms of porphyria include skin that develops blisters, swells, and itches or peels when it is exposed to sunlight, especially in areas that get the most sun exposure, such as the hands or face.

Porphyrias are a group of rare disorders that make it difficult for your body to produce hemoglobin properly. Hemoglobin is a protein in your blood that carries oxygen. The most common type of porphyrias, porphyria cutanea tarda, affects the skin.

Because this disorder is rare and the symptoms associated with it can signal a number of other conditions, it's important to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor.

People with cutaneous forms of porphyria develop blisters, itching, and swelling of their skin when exposed to sunlight. Symptoms of acute porphyria include pain in the abdomen, chest, limbs, or back; numbness, tingling, paralysis, or cramping; vomiting; constipation; and personality changes or mental disorders. Acute attacks of porphyria can develop over hours or days and last for days or weeks.

Symptoms can vary widely in severity. Some people with gene mutations that can cause porphyria have no signs or symptoms of the disorder. These people are said to have latent porphyria.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Continue Learning about Metabolic Disorders

Identifying and Avoiding Common Porphyria Triggers
Identifying and Avoiding Common Porphyria Triggers
Porphyrias are rare metabolic disorders caused by abnormal enzyme activity that affects the way the body produces heme (a substance that is vital to t...
Read More
Types of Porphyria: Acute, Cutaneous and More
Types of Porphyria: Acute, Cutaneous and More
Porphyria is the name given to a group of metabolic disorders related to abnormal enzyme activity during the production of heme, an important componen...
Read More
What is gangliosidoses?
Piedmont Heart InstitutePiedmont Heart Institute
The gangliosidoses are a group of inherited metabolic diseases caused by a deficiency of the differe...
More Answers
How can I prevent dehydration during exercise?
Mercy HealthMercy Health
To prevent dehydration during exercise try the following: Sip 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.