Porphyria

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Porphyria is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Acute Intermittent Porphyria
  • Variegate Porphyria
  • Hereditary Coproporphyria
  • Protoporphyria
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria
  • ALA-D Porphyria

General Discussion

Porphyria is a group of at least eight metabolic disorders that arise as a result of a malfunction in one of the eight steps in the body's synthesis of a complex molecule called heme. Heme is essential for the transport of oxygen to cells in the body. If any step in the synthesis of heme is blocked, an intermediate chemical accumulates in the cell, resulting in oxygen depletion. Those intermediate chemicals, known as porphyrins or porphyrin precursors, are the substances of which heme is composed.

There are two general categories of porphyrias, those that affect the skin and those that affect the nervous system. The former are called cutaneous porphyrias. The latter are called acute porphyrias. Because the symptoms of the various porphyrias may resemble symptoms of other disorders, diagnosis may be difficult.

Each type of porphyria represents a deficiency of a specific enzyme needed for the synthesis of heme. Treatment is specific to the type of porphyria. The porphyrias are inherited conditions, but don't all follow the same mode of inheritance.

Resources

American Porphyria Foundation
4900 Woodway
Suite 780
Houston, TX 77056
Tel: (713)266-9617
Fax: (713)840-9552
Email: porphyrus@aol.com
Internet: http://www.porphyriafoundation.com

NIH/National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
Tel: (301)654-3810
Fax: (301)907-8906
Tel: (800)891-5389
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.niddk.nih.gov

Canadian Association for Porphyria
P.O. Box 1206
Neepawa
Manitoba, Intl ROJ 1HO
Canada
Tel: (204)476-2800
Fax: (204)476-2801
Internet: http://www.cpf-inc.ca/

Belgian Association for Metabolic Diseases (BOKS)
Alice Nahonlann 7
Melsele, 9120
Belgium
Tel: 3237754839
Email: info@boks.be
Internet: http://www.boks.be

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766
Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

For a Complete Report

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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