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What are the symptoms of porphyria?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of acute porphyria include vomiting, severe abdominal pain, seizures and insomnia, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people with acute porphyria may experience abdominal swelling, diarrhea, constipation or heart palpitations. Acute porphyria may cause pain in the back, chest or legs.

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Acute porphyria generally causes nervous system problems, including high blood pressure, breathing problems, or red or brown urine discoloration, notes Mayo Clinic. Some people with acute porphyria may experience anxiety or restlessness. Acute porphyria may cause mental shifts, including hallucinations, paranoia, confusion or disorientation. Acute porphyria may cause paralysis, numbness, tingling or weakness in the muscles.

Cutaneous porphyria generally causes problems related to the skin, including itching, fragile skin, long-lasting blisters and scars, states Mayo Clinic. Skin discoloration, swelling or painful redness of the skin may occur. Cutaneous porphyria may cause a burning pain when skin is exposed to natural or artificial light. Some people with cutaneous porphyria may notice increased hair growth.

Although porphyria usually manifests as either acute or cutaneous, some people may experience symptoms of both, according to Mayo Clinic It is important to seek immediate medical attention if urine turns red or brown or if the sun or artificial light cause skin problems. Diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and pain the abdomen, back, legs or chest may also necessitate medical intervention.

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