What Is Porphyria
A group of some eight disorders affecting the skin and nervous system of the human body is referred to as Porphyria. The disorder is commonly due to genetic reasons but may occur due to other reasons also. Symptoms are not easy to identify and in many cases there may never be any symptoms. Usually some triggers make the symptoms noticeable. It is very common world wide as about 2% of the world population is affected by it. When the symptoms do develop include sensitivity and allergy to sunlight, urine turning color when exposed to sunlight, seizures, insomnia etc.
Other symptoms include edema that causes swelling, severe muscle pain, excessive sweating, hallucination etc. The triggers that make the symptoms appear are hormone fluctuation experienced by women before or during periods and during pregnancies. Other triggers are high levels of iron, infection or virus, alcohol, smoking or drugs, some medications bought over counter etc. Because of the difficulty in identifying the trigger the symptoms even when appearing remain latent.
Porphyria has been categorized into two groups called cutaneous and acute. The cutaneous affliction affects the skin whereas the acute form affects skin as well as the nervous system. The variegate Porphyria, hereditary, copro Porphyria affect skin and the nervous system. The cutaneous and the combined form of acute and cutaneous Porphyria have further been classified into eight further sub groups. Multiple types of Porphyria called PCT occur in the liver, whereas what is called HEP affects the blood particularly the plasma and red cells. They also affect the bone marrow.
Human body contains Porphyrines normally turned into heme which forms an important part in hemoglobin. In the body of people affected by Porphyria sufficient number of enzymes is not produced for converting Porphyrines into heme. This automatically results in the accumulation of excess Porphyrines causing Porphyria. This is not an inherited variety and therefore can be prevented if adequate measures are taken for maintaining the body metabolism healthy and normal. Treatment for Porphyria mainly concerns taking measures to prevent the accumulation of Porphyrine and maintaining it at a reasonably low level.
It is essential to know the triggers causing the onset of Porphyria for effective treatment. Apart from medication there other factors to be taken care of for this purpose to prevent the accumulation of Porphyrine. This includes reducing the stress levels and treating infection and illness promptly. A very important matter is protecting the skin from sunlight by wearing effective screens. Medications include anti malarial drugs which absorbs Porphyrines, Beta-carotene, intravenous injection of carbohydrates, hema etc, Some people may need psychiatric treatment also.