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Porphyria

The porphyrias are a group of disorders where there is a problem with the production of haem within the body. Haem is used to make haemoglobin in red blood cells. There are seven different types of porphyria and in most cases they are inherited (run in families). In each type, there is a lack of one of the enzymes (special proteins) which controls one of the steps in haem synthesis (the making of haem). This means that substances that are made during the process leading up to haem synthesis (including porphyrins) are overproduced and can build up within the body and cause symptoms. It is important that the type of porphyria that you have should be identified. This is because they can have different symptoms and effects on the body. Symptoms vary greatly and can include abdominal pain, nervous system problems, mental health problems and skin problems. You may need to avoid certain things such as certain drugs or alcohol that may ‘trigger’ an attack of porphyria.

The full article about Porphyrias can be found at patient.co.uk.

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