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What is porphyria cutanea tarda?

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Porphyria cutanea tarda is a disorder caused by low levels of the blood enzyme uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase, according to the American Porphyria Foundation. Symptoms of PCT include blisters on sun-exposed areas of the skin, increased hair growth and darkening of the skin. PCT can also cause some abnormalities in liver function.

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Full Answer

Hepatitis C and other factors, such as alcohol intake and contraceptives that contain estrogens, can lead to PCT, states the American Porphyria Foundation. In general, doctors treat PCT by draining away the patient's blood in order to remove excess iron from the liver. This treatment typically requires the removal of 5 to 6 pints of blood over the course of several months and is successful for most patients.

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