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Articles » Porphyria: NIDDK
 

Porphyria: NIDDK

Article title: Porphyria: NIDDK

Main condition: Porphyria

Conditions: Porphyria


Porphyria is a disorder in which the body produces too much of the chemical porphyrin. Porphyrin is used to make heme, the part of blood that carries oxygen. Heme also gives blood its color. Any circulating porphyrin the body doesn't use is excreted in urine and stool. When the body produces and excretes too much porphyrin, as happens with porphyria, not enough heme remains to keep a person healthy.

Porphyria affects either the nervous system or the skin. When porphyria affects the nervous system, it can cause chest pain, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, weakness, hallucinations, seizures, purple-red-colored urine, or mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and paranoia. When porphyria affects the skin, blisters, itching, swelling, and sensitivity to the sun can result.

Porphyria is an inherited condition. Attacks of the disease can be triggered by drugs (barbiturates, tranquilizers, birth control pills, sedatives), chemicals, certain foods, and exposure to the sun.

Porphyria is diagnosed through tests on blood, urine, and stool. It can be treated with medicines to relieve symptoms, a drug called hemin (which is like heme), or a high-carbohydrate diet.

More information is available from

American Porphyria Foundation
P.O. Box 22712
Houston, TX 77227
Phone: (713) 266-9617
Email: porphyns@juno.com
Internet: www.enterprise.net/apf

National Organization for Rare Disorders
P.O. Box 8923
New Fairfield, CT 06812-8923
Phone: 1-800-999-6673 or (203) 746-6518
Email: orphan@rarediseases.org
Internet: https://www.rarediseases.org/

American Liver Foundation
75 Maiden Lane, Suite 603
New York, NY 10038
Phone: 1-800-GO-LIVER (465-4837)
Email: info@liverfoundation.org
Internet: https://www.liverfoundation.org/




Additional Information on Porphyria

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse collects resource information on digestive diseases for the Combined Health Information Database (CHID). CHID is a database produced by health-related agencies of the Federal Government. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources.

To provide you with the most up-to-date resources, information specialists at the clearinghouse created an automatic search of CHID. To obtain this information you may view the results of the automatic search on Porphyria.

Or, if you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may access the CHID Online web site and search CHID yourself.


National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
Email: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/tools/mail_nddic.htm

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1980, the clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people with digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NDDIC answers inquiries; develops and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about digestive diseases.

Publications produced by the clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts.

This e-text is not copyrighted. The clearinghouse encourages users of this e-pub to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.


NIH Publication No. 99-4632

Updated: February 2001

 

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