Porphyria Cutanea Tarda

Skin that is smooth, clean and free of blemishes and skin disorders is something everyone wants. Unfortunately, many find they are born with or develop some type of skin ailments in the course of their lifetime. It is best to not take unnecessary chances and have any skin growth, rash or blemishes checked out by a dermatologist or doctor.

A common type of porphyria is porphyria cutanea tarda. It is characterized by a group of disorders that result from abnormalities in the chemical steps that lead to the production of heme which is a key element to the human body. Sores, blisters and cysts on areas of the skin most exposed to sun will result in individuals with this skin ailment. A few individuals will also have brown patches around their eyes and an increase in facial hair. The skin can become hard in some cases.

Who Can Get Them?

Porphyria cutanea tarda can be developed by anyone. All races and sexes are affected equally. Although the young and middle-aged adults seem to be most affected by the ailment.

What Can Cause Them?

A defective enzyme in the liver is the primary cause of porphyria cutanea tarda. The responsibility of the enzyme is for the synthesis of the red pigmentation of the blood cells. Some evidence has suggested that genetics play a role in the development of this condition.

How Does It Happen?

Low levels of the enzyme that help in the synthesis of blood production result in porphyria cutanea tarda. An increase in porphyrins in the skin is the result which makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The parts of the skin that are exposed become damaged and develop blisters, rashes and changes in the coloring of the skin.

Where Do They Appear?

Areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun are most likely to have the ailment. This includes areas such as the hands, forearms, neck, face and chest area.

What Are The Symptoms?

Those who have this ailment will develop blisters on the parts of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. Individuals may be sun burned easily. There may be brown patches around the eyes and a larger amount of facial hair my be present. Crusting and scarring around the area can also occur and the healing time for the skin disorder can take awhile. The skin is also very susceptible to trauma and needs to be well protected.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

Testing the individual’s blood plasma, urine and stool for porphyrins is the way to diagnose the condition. A positive indication that you have porphyria cutanea tarda is when you have high levels of porphyrins present. To confirm the skin disorder a doctor can also do a skin biopsy.

What Treatments Are Available?

The treatment for this ailment is unique, but it has positive results. A phlebotomy is the primary treatment option. The individual has a pint of blood taken every one to two weeks. This reduces the amount of iron a person has and iron plays a role in producing the enzyme that causes the issue. The skin will start to become normal again once the levels of porphyry in the liver and plasma are reduced. This is usually done about five or six times.

Alcohol and iron should also be avoided by the individual. When going outside individuals will have to wear an opaque type sun-block to help reduce the formation of blisters. A doctor may recommend some type of anti-malarial tables in some cases, but often only when the case is extreme.

The development of a skin disorder may be the result of something that isn’t working correctly in the body in some cases. Porphyria cutanea tarda is a skin disorder of this type. A defective enzyme in the liver causes the disorder. You should contact your doctor if you develop this skin ailment and you may need to see a specialist who knows what to do with blood and liver disorders so you can get the treatment you need.

Leave a comment

Latest Articles

Any Query?