Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

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Porphyria Porphyria is a genetic disease that develops when an individual?s metabolic enzymes malfunction. Porphyria refers to a number of rare biochemical disorders that deal with the Heme synthesis pathways. People with Porphyria cannot synthesis iron, which contains Hemoglobin, because of their defective Heme synthesizing enzymes. Because of this, the products accumulate. The Porphyrins, the accumulation of the products, lead to strange symptoms. The main symptoms of Porphyria include skin photosensitivity, liver problems, abdominal pains, excess hair growth, and neurological problems. As a result of these symptoms, people with the disease are often associated with the legends of vampires and werewolves.

Legends of vampires, werewolves, and zombies date back to the beginning of time, and the beginning of Porphyria. It is believed that the legends of vampires and werewolves originated from people with Porphyria. People with Porphyria experienced disfiguration due to lack of medical treatment and knowledge. Because of the horrible symptoms of Porphyria, people with extreme Porphyria had to spend their days in dark cellars due to skin photosensitivity.

If their skin was constantly exposed to the light, it would develop blisters and lesions. Their clothes were torn and their teeth looked like fangs because of their lifestyles and degenerating gums. Rampant hair growth was also a symptom, causing them to resemble werewolves. In those days, people who had Porphyria could not just walk into a hospital and get Heme injections to relieve them of the symptoms. They were forced to drink blood instead. Most of the stories you hear today about vampires who have fangs so they can suck your blood probably originated from Porphyria.

The main types of Porphyria are Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, Acute Intermittent Porphyria, Hereditary Porphyria, Variegate Porphyria, and Erythropoietic Porphyria. They are separated into two groups. The first group, consisting of Eythropoietic Porphyria,