Porphyria is a group of rare disorders that affect the skin (cutaneous porphyria) and nervous system (acute porphyria). It involves a buildup of natural chemicals called porphyrins in the body. Porphyrins are necessary for the production of heme, which is a part of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to organs and tissues.

In order to convert porphyrins into heme, eight enzymes are needed. Without these enzymes, porphyrins build up in the body. This results in major issues, especially regarding the nervous system and skin.

Porphyria has two main types: acute and cutaneous. Acute porphyria has a rapid onset and presents mainly in the nervous system. Cutaneous porphyria has a slower start and impacts the skin. Other types of porphyria can impinge both the nervous system and skin.

Find out more about porphyria, including types and treatments, by checking out PainScale's articles on it.

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