Porphyria cutanea tarda is a type of porphyria that is a blood infection that shows its effect on the skin. It is the most common type of porphyria, also known as vampire disease. The reason for this name is the symptoms of the issue, which makes you feel like a vampire who can not even see a speck of sunlight. Although the issue seems very simple, it can be serious because of the underlying causes and problems it leads to.

It would be best to read the blog to learn about this infection, its causes, and its treatment. You will get to know the basics of the detail and treatment methods that can help you cure the issue.

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Symptoms That Appear In Your Body Due To The Infection

The symptoms that appear on your body when you have Porphyria cutanea tarda are-

  • The most common symptom is that your skin will show blisters and lesions. It happens commonly on surfaces exposed to the sun, like your hands, face, arms, etc.
  • When suffering from the infection, your skin becomes fragile and sensitive to the sun.
  • You can notice an increase in your hair growth, especially on your face.
  • Liver damage can be a very serious symptom of the infection.
  • Skin becomes darker, known as hyperpigmentation after the lesions improve.
  • Redness on the skin, along with itching, happens in your body.
  • You will also see swelling on your skin due to this infection.
  • Scars appear on your skin along with crusting.
  • The color of urine changes from light yellow to reddish brown.
  • If you have minor injuries, then sores start happening in your body.

How Does Infection Happen In The Body?

The Porphyria cutanea tarda happens in your body due to various genetic and acquired reasons. The genetic reasons are-

  • If there is an inherited deficiency of a liver enzyme in your body, the chances of issues are very high.
  • Those with a family history of liver cancer can also suffer from the issue.
  • If the iron levels in your liver increase above normal, the issue might happen.

The acquired reasons behind Porphyria cutanea tarda are-

  • Too much exposure to a few chemicals can lead to infection.
  • If you have estrogen therapy, the chances of this issue are very high.
  • If you have hepatitis C or HIV, the chances of Porphyria cutanea tarda in your body increase.
  • Taking oral contraceptives can be a reason behind the infection.
  • Using recreational drugs, dieting and fasting regularly can also be a reason behind the infection.

What Are The Infection Complications In Human Beings?

The complications that might happen in your body due to Porphyria cutanea tarda are-

  • Skin blisters attract more infections to your body.
  • Your skin might become fragile due to the infection.
  • Your skin might appear abnormal, and the color differs from normal skin.
  • The skin lesions might leave scars on the body.

How To Diagnose The Infection?

The diagnosis of porphyria is very difficult, and it happens because its symptoms are similar to many other common issues. Moreover, the issue is very rare, due to which many physicians never get to see the cause of this problem in their lifetime. But for checking the physical symptoms, the physician might check for skin lesions and blisters on your skin.

If lesions are present on your skin, the physician will do some lab tests like urine tests.

During the urine tests, the physician will look out for levels of uroporphyrinogen in your urine. If the levels are high, the issue might be serious, and you should get it treated asap. The issue also gives rise to complications of hepatitis C and hemochromatosis, and your physician should look out to treat the issue fastly.

Other than urine tests, the physician might perform a series of blood and stool tests and a skin biopsy. A person should undergo genetic testing if there is a family history of Porphyria cutanea tarda.

Treatment For Porphyria Cutanea Tarda

The treatment of Porphyria cutanea tarda mainly aims to control the symptoms, making the issue worse. When you can control the symptoms, make some lifestyle changes. It will impact your issue permanently in a positive way which will decrease your dependence on drugs,

Till that time, some of the common treatments that the physician might suggest for the infection are-

  • The most common medicine for the issue of Porphyria cutanea tarda is Hydroxychloroquine 200 mg and Hydroxychloroquine 400 mg. If you have this issue, you can get this medicine with the physician’s prescription. When you use the medicine, then it is going to decrease the release of iron and porphyrins in the level by suppressing the causal cells. The medicine provides quick results but can be very helpful if you use it regularly as it greatly relieves your symptoms.
  • You can also use the phlebotomy technique for the treatment, in which the physician will remove blood from your body to reduce iron levels.
  • You can also use iron chelators to remove excess iron from your blood.
  • Some people can also use pain medications to relieve the symptoms of the medicine.

There are some changes in your lifestyle that you can make to get relief from the issue permanently. Those changes include-

  • You should avoid drinking alcohol when suffering from the Porphyria cutanea tarda infection. It is important because the issue increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • Smoking can make the issue worse because you should avoid it completely.
  • You should start using sunscreen and avoid sunlight as much as possible.
  • Females suffering from the issue should not take supplement estrogen or use products that can increase the estrogen levels in their bodies.

Final Thoughts

75% of cases of Porphyria cutanea tarda are due to genetics. That is why we suggest that if someone in your family already has the infection, you should get your genetics checked. It can help you in taking a few steps that can help you prevent the issue. Also, people most commonly suffer from the infection after 30 or 35. Also, one should take precautions to save the body from the sun as much as possible so that the issue does not worsen.


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