Possible complications of porphyria include:

  • Dehydration. Vomiting due to an attack of acute porphyria can lead to dehydration, which may require that you receive fluids through a vein (intravenously).
  • Breathing difficulties. Acute porphyrias can cause muscle weakness and paralysis, which can cause breathing problems. If left untreated, they also can lead to respiratory failure.
  • Low sodium in your blood. Called hyponatremia, this is usually linked to problems with sodium and water handling in your body. But, in rare cases, low blood sodium may be a sign that porphyria has damaged your kidneys.
  • High blood pressure. Porphyrin buildup can damage your kidneys and may result in high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Chronic kidney failure. Porphyrin buildup may cause your kidneys to gradually lose their ability to function. Kidney function at less than 10 to 15 percent of normal capacity is considered end-stage kidney disease, which usually requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Liver damage. Some forms of porphyria cause excessive porphyrins in your liver, which may lead to severe liver damage that can eventually require a liver transplant.
  • Permanent skin damage. When your skin heals after cutaneous porphyria, it may have abnormal bumps (milia) and coloring (pigmentation). Scars may remain on your skin as well, and lasting skin problems may cause your hair to fall out.
May. 07, 2011